[AD – Gifted*]
A musical that has been on my bucket list for years is Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, which is playing at the Aldwych Theatre in London. An artist with a truly legendary voice, the singer sadly passed away last year, after the most unbelievable life. In the public eye from her late teens, Tina navigated a narrow-minded music business and barriers to race and gender to establish herself as a global artist. The musical documents her experiences, specifically her early beginnings with the Ike & Tina Turner Revue, a turbulent and abusive marriage and Tina’s various setbacks.
It is no secret that my family love theatre and Tina came recommended by my Dad and sister, who caught the show last year in the West End. Describing it as ‘one of the best ones’, I was excited to finally have the opportunity to see the musical earlier this month, thanks to a previous partnership with London Box Office.
The best jukebox musical in UK theatres
I’ve had some bad luck with jukebox musicals as of late and I think this is partly because the genre is so saturated. To make a show stand out, you need an exceptional lead performer and an insightful book that tells a story about a public figure’s life. Tina’s life was momentous, from poor beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee to a controlling and abusive partner in Ike. For such a star, she certainly had her ups and downs and these stark realities transcend into a powerful and impactful piece of theatre.
Choreography and movement
Featuring many musical hits, Anthony Van Laast’s lively dance routines are a huge part of the production, but it is actually the tense movements and blocking in the marriage scenes that had the greatest effect on me as a viewer. I found the relationship between Tina and Ike particularly difficult to watch, with fight direction by Kate Waters adding suspense to the first act. Presented in a raw, believable and chilling way, you can’t help but instantly dislike Ike (fantastically played by Earl Gregory) and how he treated his wife. The conflict is intentionally uncomfortable to watch, but the transparent performance style really puts the whole piece of theatre into perspective, communicating the reality of the singer’s private life.
Costumes and wigs
Starting with the performer’s early beginnings in 1940s Tennessee and ending with Tina’s record-breaking Brazil show in the 80s, Mark Thompson’s costume design captures the memorable fashion trends of the eras. The changing dress styles and varied wigs by Campbell Young Associates help make the production a visual spectacle, illustrating the artist’s many personas. The care in the costumes also reflects the extensive amount of time that Tina was in the public eye and her own personal growth.
Tina in two words…
Karis Anderson. As Tina, Anderson is the life and soul of the show, drawing on their incredible strength and stamina in what must be one of the West End’s most demanding roles. The artist was known for her high energy performances, from the energetic dance moves to the larger-than-life vocals. Anderson captures your complete and utter attention when on stage, tackling some of the singer’s most difficult material. Supported by an incredibly talented ensemble, the high impact song and dance numbers are a visual spectacle.
Tina continues to triumph in the West End
With a recent extension announcement until 31st May 2025, unsurprisingly the production is thriving in London. If there is one jukebox musical that you should see between now and then, it really ought to be Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. The whole show is an emotional rollercoaster, sharing the stars’ humbling life experiences through almost three hours of exceptional music and storytelling. It is one of the best musicals in London right now and I hope it continues to uphold Tina’s legacy for many years to come.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx
* My ticket for Tina the Musical was gifted following a previous partnership with London Box Office, but there was no obligation to post a review.