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REVIEW: Tina, The Musical

Review by Markus Hamence – Performance date, 30 May 2024, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide, South Australia

This past week, the house lights dimmed, and the stage lit up at the premiere of Tina, The Musical in its 2024 Adelaide run at Adelaide Festival Centre. Held in our acoustically brilliant theatre, echoing with the anticipatory whispers of an eager crowd, this production promised to deliver all the highs and lows of Tina Turner’s storied career – and it did not disappoint.

The Tale of Tina

The narrative of Tina, The Musical does a magnificent job encapsulating the essence of Tina Turner’s life, from her modest origins in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her tumultuous relationship with Ike Turner, and her spectacular reinvention as a global rock icon. This production, adapted for the Australian audience, captures the universal themes of resilience and triumph through adversity, which are at the heart of Tina’s legacy.

Cast and Characters

The success of any musical largely rests on the shoulders of its lead, and in this case, the actress stepping into Tina’s shoes is nothing short of phenomenal – Ruva Ngwenya is a goddess with a voice built for the heavens, her prowess on stage is of lioness quality. Her performance is electrifying – she doesn’t just play Tina, she becomes her, embodying the energy and spirit that made Turner a legend. Her renditions of classics like ‘Nutbush City Limits’ and ‘Private Dancer’ are both a tribute and a fresh take, captivating everyone in the room.

Supporting roles are no less impressive. The actor portraying Ike Turner navigates the complexity of his character with a depth that is both disturbing and compelling. Giovanni Adams stepped into the role for our performance and his commitment to the role had us disliking him as the enemy almost immediately. The dynamic between the two leads is charged and dramatic, driving home the emotional intensity of their shared story.

Musical Brilliance and Moves

The musical arrangements in this Australian production take it to another level. The live band delivers heart-thumping renditions of Tina Turner’s hits that have the audience grooving along from their seats. Choreography is another highlight, mirroring the energy and precision that Tina was known for. The dance sequences are not just performed; they are executed with a passion and precision that pays homage to the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s unique style.

‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’, ‘! Don’t Want To Fight’ and ‘River Deep’ there wasn’t a moment that had you not lip syncing the songs as the show bounced merrily along.

AND, without giving to much away, the band, the volume and the overall energy ramps up beyond belief in the last ten minutes, see it to experience what I mean.

Visual and Auditory Spectacle

Visually, the production impresses with sets that transport the audience through the different eras of Tina’s life. From the intimate, gritty clubs where she first found fame, to meeting Roger Davies, to the dazzling concert stages of her solo career, the transitions are seamless and impactful. Lighting design plays a pivotal role, perfectly syncing with the music and mood, enhancing every scene with dramatic flair.

Costumes deserve a special mention, brilliantly reflecting the evolution of Tina’s personal and stage personas. From the sequined dresses of the 60s and the iconic Bob Mackie period, to the iconic denim jacket and leather mini-skirt, every outfit adds authenticity and dazzle to the storytelling. My favourite could have been the memorable red leather little dress ensemble.

In Conclusion

Tina, The Musical in its 2024 Australian production is a powerhouse of a musical that will leave you moved, exhilarated, and inspired. It is a fitting tribute to the resilience and talent of Tina Turner and a must-see for not only her fans but anyone who loves a story of overcoming the odds with grace and courage. As you leave the theater, the energy of Tina’s music lingers, a reminder of her enduring legacy and the powerful message of never giving up on oneself.

FIVE (very bright shiny) STARS from me 🙂

Now, I reach for my Tina vinyls and sit back and end enjoy an incredible legacy. Long love Tina!

Tina the Musical
4-31 May 2024
Adelaide Festival Theatre, Adelaide, South Australia
Tickets here!

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