Teg Dainty in association with Tina Turner
Phyllida Lloyd - Musical Direction by Christina Polimos
Costumes designed by Mark Thompson – Choreographed by Anthony Van Laast
designed by Bruno Poet – Sound designed by Nevin Steinberg
Royal Sydney until October 22nd .
Performance on May 17th Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS
many reasons not to miss this musical even if you haven’t’ been paying
attention to the career of Tina Turner.
are the songs. In a career which spans more than 60 years, Tina Turner became
one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, selling over 100 million
records worldwide, winning 12 Grammy Awards along the way. But how Tina Turner, accomplished this is not
the main focus of this musical, nor is the show simply a concert of her hit
“Tina – the Tina Turner Musical” turns out to be a deeply affecting revelation of
the path carved out by Anna Mae Bullock,
who married musician Ike Turner and became world famous as Tina Turner, and
what she endured in her determination to become a world famous singer. Of course, all the best songs are there, but
how they are woven through the story is just one of the fascinations.
the astonishing performance of Ruva Ngwenya. This is a career defining role for
Ngwenya; in much the same way as the role of Peter Allen defined the career of Todd
Ngwenya is a
powerhouse performer. A formidable singer, dancer and actor, she captures the
very essence of Tina Turner so skilfully that one soon becomes bewitched into
believing Tina Turner is in the room.
though, Ngwenya has been honing her craft since making her theatrical debut in
“The Lion King” in 2013. And though she’s performed supporting roles in major
musicals such as “We Will Rock You”, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and
most recently, “Moulin Rouge”, it seems as though she’s just been marking time
until this role came along, and when it did, she is so ready for it.
perfectly Turners guttural growls and stratospheric high notes, while performing
a succession of demanding dance routines, lightning-quick costume changes, even
enduring confronting domestic abuse episodes, then after a dazzling finale,
creates an indelible memory by pulling out even more stops in a series of
thrilling encores, giving the distinct impression she could do the whole show
again, no trouble. It’s a performance you won’t forget.
|Tim Omaji as Ike Turner in "Tina - The Tina Turner Musical
more. Almost as impressive is former Canberran, Tim Omaji cast against type as
the loathsome, Ike Turner. Like Ngwenya, Omaji, previously known as dancer,
Timomatic, has been attracting attention in roles such as Tyrone in “Fame”,
Benny in “In the Heights” and Toulouse-Lautrec in “Moulin Rouge”, but as Ike
Turner he reveals himself as a formidable dramatic actor.
fine supporting cast, Ibinabo Jack as Zelma Bullock, Mat Verevis as Roger
Davis, Matthew Prime as Erwin Bach, John O’Hara as Phil Spector and Nadia
Komazec as Rhonda Graam are stand-outs, while ten-year-old Amara Kavaliku, as
young Anna-Mae, delighted with the strength of her strong singing voice which
hinted at the voice which would eventually lift Tina Turner to world fame.
|Ruva Ngwenya as Tina Turner with the Ikettes - Tina - The Turner Musical
Images by Daniel Boud.
This review first published in CITY NEWS on May 19th 2023.