TINA The Tina Turner Musical

At a time when  domestic violence has been declared a national crisis, the musical TINA opens in Adelaide Festival Theatre, celebrating the career a woman who overcame discrimination and abuse in her life by sheer force of will and an exceptional talent.  Katori Hall, who, together with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, was the writer of the book, stated that she found a Tina Turner who was ‘still searching for the answers to the hard questions ‘ The answers to those questions is the musical, TINA.

Tina Turner was an American-born singer who found success in the rhythm and blues, soul, and rock genres in a career that spanned five decades. The musical TINA which covers some of her greatest songs was developed in 2016, with Tina Turner and her husband Erwin Bach as Executive Producers.  The show opened on the West End  at the Aldwych Theatre on April 16 2018 and has been touring successfully ever since, from Broadway, and the US, Europe, then coming to Sydney in 2023. Now it is Adelaide’s turn to see this musical which is the culmination of years of development and the bringing together of an exceptionally talented cast and and crew. With over twenty musical numbers, including such favourites as A Fool in Love, Proud Mary, Nutbush City Limits and (Simply) The Best, the audience is treated to a scintillating and engaging spectacle.

Considering Tina Turner’s impact on the musical world I asked my daughter, who is obviously a different generation to myself, how she felt about TINA on opening night. This was her response:

The common thread throughout was the power of humanity, courage and compassion. It was spellbinding and deceptively simple. The many stages of her life and struggles presented almost seamlessly with the simple changes of set highlighting key points in the life of the Queen of Rock.

The story of domestic violence is current and loud in the news today, Tina Turner’s experiences of abuse at the hands of her husband Ike was frank and raw centre stage for all to witness. The audience swept into cheering when she retaliated and applauded key moments of her reclamation of power and regaining of her status as a super star through sheer personal grit. Just as prominent is the story of the power of humanity and loyalty. The energy between Tina the adult and Tina as a child, the past and present was strong throughout. The harsh dynamics between Tina and her mother was steeped in compassion, the themes of her commitment to Buddhism interwoven respectfully with sensitivity.

 The topic of domestic violence remains current, particularly of late. It is pertinent to pay  homage to  women such as Tina Turner whose deliberate narration of personal experiences in public forums facilitated major changes. Her determination to speak out publicly about her experiences of abuse  in a strong voice steered cultural change, leading others to bring to light what was left unsaid.

Ruva Ngwenya, as Tina Turner, of necessity, carries the show, both as singer and dancer.She is supported by an amazing group singers and dancers, including  Giovanni Adams as Ike Turner. The touring band is directed by Christine Polimos and assistant director Chris King.

This ia a chance to see the story of a remarkable performer played out in full technicolour. A story of a woman who was born in 1939 into a poor family in Tennessee, whose early family life was dysfunctional, whose musical and marital partnership with Ike Turner was dominated by a coercive and violent husband, who struggled with addiction and yet emerged through it all to find stability and recognition as one of he great singers of her time, recording and touring, throughout  the US and Europe and many other countries including Australia. An affirming and inspiring story; but most of all a musical experience.

Festival Theatre

24 April – 31 May

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