Review Roundup: TINA Opens in London
TINA, a new musical based on the life of legendary artist Tina Turner just opened at the Aldwych Theatre and is currently booking to 20 October 2018. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, choreography is by Anthony Van Laast, with set and costume designs by Mark Thompson, musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Bruno Poet, sound by Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Jeff Sugg and orchestrations by Ethan Popp.
The cast comprises Adrienne Warren who plays the title role, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Ike Turner, Madeline Appiah as Tina's mother Zelma Bullock, Jenny Fitzpatrick as the alternate Tina, Lorna Gayle as Tina's Grandmother GG, Tom Godwin as Record Producer Phil Spector and Lyricist Terry Britten, Francesca Jackson as Ike and Tina's manager Rhonda Graam, Aisha Jawando as Tina's sister Alline Bullock, Natey Jones as Tina's father Richard Bullock and Tina's first love Raymond Hill, Gerard McCarthy as record company Marketing Manager Erwin Bach and Ryan O'Donnell as Tina's Manager Roger Davies.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Andrew Tomlins, BroadwayWorld: Lloyd's production provides a fun night out whilst reminding us what one of the world's most famous singers went through behind the scenes; however, I would have liked Tina to delve deeper than what has come before. With some further development, Tina could be something truly special. Nevertheless, it's safe to say Tina Turner fans are in for a real treat and will end the night on their feet singing along to some of Turner's biggest hits.
David Benedict, Variety: Part of the problem for the production team is that, for all its terrible pain - brought laudibly and unflinchingly to the surface, thanks in no small part to Kate Waters' fight direction - Turner's journey is defiant but predictable. Lowly beginnings, raw talent, singing as a route out of poverty, trapped by an abusive manager/husband, fraught escape, fighting to re-establish herself: it's a dramatic trajectory straight out of the showbiz playbook.
Dominic Cavendish, Telegraph: The evening is bookended by a 1988 concert in Brazil: our indomitable heroine first prepares to meet her army of fans, casting her mind back to the prayers of her childhood, then finally does so, rewarding them (and us) with a full lights-blazing, full lungs-bursting rendition of Simply the Best. It's the obvious yet perfect climax.
Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter: Tina is mostly a high-voltage showcase for Warren, who is rarely offstage and constantly in motion for almost the entirety of this two-hours-plus production. Petite and slender, the 31-year-old Virginia native lacks Turner's warrior-queen physique and earthy, sweat-soaked, thunderdome roar. In fact, she could more easily pass for a young Diana Ross than Turner. And yet she still delivers an uncanny masterclass in minutely finessed mimicry, especially in the later musical numbers, where she hones to perfection the singer's bison-legged stomp-dance and unique sandpaper vibrato. For athletic stamina at the very least, this is a star-making performance.
Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out: Lloyd directs fluidly and at a pace, but there is, also, a weird feeling of it being clogged with ephemera. Do we need interludes about Tina's Buddhism? A load of stuff on her not-very-interesting new boyf (sic)? A studio scene featuring Heaven 17? Her cover of Iggy Pop's 'Tonight'? I can't help but wonder if one price of the real Turner's involvement in the show was incorporating elements of her life that feel more important to her than us. Don't get me wrong: it's an entertaining night, brilliantly performed. By the time Warren busts out 'Simply the Best' and reprises of 'Nutbush City Limits' and 'Proud Mary' for the mini-concert at the end, the roof is suitably blown off.
Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan