Review: Tina (Theatre Royal)

Venue: Theatre Royal (Sydney NSW), from May 2023
Book: Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, Kees Prins
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Cast: Cayden Dosoruth, Blake Erickson, Jayme-Lee Hanekon, Ilbinabo Jack, Amara Kavaliku, Abu Kebe, Rishab Kern, Nadia Komazec, Jenni Little, David Mairs, Ruva Ngwenya, Emily Nkomo, Camile Nko’o, Tim Omaji, John O’Hara, Matthew Prime, Tendai Rinomhota, Rebecca Selley, Tigist Strode, Augie Tchantcho, Mat Verevis
Images by Daniel Boud

Theatre review
Rock star Tina Turner’s triumph over hardship, during her earlier years, is a story that has defined her entire public persona. Indeed, many have identified that legendary emergence from tragedy, to be a real  source of inspiration, and it is that period of her life we revisit in the 2018 musical Tina.

Comprised of songs from Turner’s multi-decade career, the show is never short of nostalgia, many of which are likely to deliver moments of sheer transcendence. The plot however, does not prove to be quite as gripping, with a book that although preserves a sense of integrity for Turner’s narrative, can feel somewhat theatrically lacklustre.

Fortunately, the production breaks into song often enough, and with Ruva Ngwenya in the lead role, providing near flawless performances of musical numbers, the experience is made worthwhile. Ike Turner is played by Tim Omaji who brings extraordinary charisma to a perhaps undeserving character, but nonetheless delivers confidently to leave us impressed and entertained.

Tina might be strangely unmoving as a dramatic production, but there is no denying the power of Turner’s legacy, along with the collective memory and immeasurable goodwill that surrounds her. All we want is to see her in all her glory, and in these effervescent re-enactments of moments from a brilliant woman’s life, we are able to witness up close and personal, the best of a star truly loved.