CD Review: TINA THE MUSICAL, Original London Cast Album
It's been nearly a year since Tina: The Musical opened in London to critical acclaim. Fans of the show will be thrilled to hear that they can now get their hands on a digital copy of the cast album featuring the original company, including Adrienne Warren in the title role. A physical copy of the recording will be available later on in the spring.
Focussing on Turner's rise to fame from humble beginnings, along with her troubled marriage to Ike Turner, the emotions are extremely well documented during the album. From the opening number, "Etherland", you know you are in for a treat. The iconic beat to Tina's legendary "Simply the Best" reverberates through my speakers prior to the addition of some tribal-sounding vocals. The full number doesn't appear until the end of the show, so it really goes full circle.
Tina's upbringing in Nutbush, Tennessee, was dominated by gospel and soul music, and this is shown during a church-style arrangement of "Nutbush City Limits", with some lovely vocals from the young Tina. This is followed by an emotional yet hopeful rendition of "Don't Turn Around", where Lorna Gayle as Gran Georgeanna joins Warren.
The instantly recognisable tracks begin to come thick and fast after this with "Shake a TailFeather" performed vibrantly by the Ikettes, with incredible harmonising vocals and a lovely showcase of the electric guitar. "A Fool in Love", with Warren's astounding scales and control, "River Deep - Mountain High" and "Proud Mary" follow shortly after, showing Warren's unique talent...and that's only Act One!
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith plays Ike Turner, and his gravelly, soulful tone is shown during "The Hunter", whilst his and Warren's voices gel together beautifully in "Matchbox".
Act Two jumps in time a little and we are reintroduced to the show with a 1970s vibe, starting with "Private Dancer" and "Disco Inferno". A couple of tracks later, we move into more of an electro-pop vibe with "I Can't Stand The Rain" - illustrating Turner's evolution as an artist.
Warren's voice can be heard at its most raw and powerful during the stripped-back introduction of "What's Love Got To Do With It", and then she still finds the energy to perform the hell out of the finale number with the ensemble cast.
This cast album emotionally taps into Tina's life perfectly and, with Warren's expert performance added into the mix, it's a tour de force.
Tina: The Musical cast album is available to download now