As the lights dimmed in the Theatre Royal Sydney, the familiar chords of ‘Proud Mary’ filled the air, a palpable anticipation grew over the theatre. TINA, the Tina Turner Musical, is a show that encapsulates the life and spirit of one of music’s greatest legends. With a powerhouse cast, phenomenal music, and an enthralling narrative, this production is a resounding triumph that leaves the audience exhilarated and inspired.
The musical takes the audience on a captivating journey through Tina Turner’s life, from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her tumultuous rise to stardom alongside her abusive relationship with Ike Turner. The book, written by Katori Hall, balances moments of heart-wrenching vulnerability with moments of triumph, creating an emotionally charged and inspiring narrative.
The production seamlessly weaves Tina’s greatest hits into the storyline, serving as a backdrop for the pivotal moments in her life. From ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ to ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It,’ the music is expertly arranged and performed, paying homage to Tina’s distinctive sound while infusing it with fresh and contemporary energy. The audience cannot help but be moved to their feet, dancing and singing along with the infectious beats.
The stage design is another production highlight, with vibrant sets transporting the audience from smoky blues clubs to dazzling concert arenas. Under Anthony Van Laast’s direction, the choreography is dynamic and visually stunning, perfectly complementing the energy of Tina’s music.
From the very first scene, Ruva Ngwenya shines as she embodies the indomitable Tina Turner. Ngwenya’s magnetic stage presence, electrifying vocals, and precise choreography capture the essence of Tina’s unparalleled talent. Her performance is nothing short of extraordinary, delivering each iconic song with a raw and soulful energy that makes it feel as if the spirit of Tina herself has taken the stage.
The supporting cast deserves equal praise for their exceptional performances. Tim Omaji embodies the complex character of Ike Turner with intensity and nuance, capturing both his charisma and his darkness. The chemistry between Ngwenya and Omaji is electrifying, portraying the tumultuous relationship between Tina and Ike with authenticity and emotional depth.
TINA is more than just a jukebox musical; it is a celebration of resilience, determination, and the power of music to overcome adversity. It is a powerful reminder of Tina Turner’s remarkable journey and enduring influence on the music industry. The show’s universal themes resonate with audiences of all ages and backgrounds, inspiring them to chase their dreams and find their inner strength.
With an outstanding cast, electrifying performances, and a narrative that tugs at the heartstrings, this production is an unmissable theatrical experience. Whether you’re a lifelong fan of Tina Turner or new to her music, this musical will leave you feeling uplifted, empowered, and thoroughly entertained.
– The other Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig is an international performer and has established himself as a trusted theatre specialist on the Sydney Arts Scene. While he understands the technical side of theatre, Dan writes for the everyday theatregoer (unlike some of those more prominent publications). When not in the audience, he loves to travel the world trying new gin. Follow him on all the socials @talldancraig
TINA, the Tina Turner Musical, runs for 2 hours 45 mins (including a 20 mins interval) and plays at Theatre Royal through 22 October 2023. Tickets are available through Theatre Royal Sydney.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of IP Publicity.
Image credit: Daniel Boud.