Review: Little Women the Broadway Musical at Scott Theatre
April 21, 2024
Review: Symphonie of the Bicycle at The Space Theatre
May 22, 2024

Review: Tina – The Tina Turner Musical at Festival Theatre

Adelaide has now been privy to not one, but two huge productions about the lives of the greatest rock and roll stars ever lived.

This almighty production of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical will have you weeping in your seat, and dancing in the aisles.

First developed in 2016 with book by Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, Turner and her husband Erwin Back both served as Executive Producers to ensure the truth and integrity of her life story.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical electrifies the stage with a powerful portrayal of the iconic singer’s life, delivering a captivating blend of music, drama, and inspiration. As the curtains rise, the heartbeat of her hit ‘Simply the Best’ with the 80s Tina sitting cross legged chanting before going on stage hits the core.

The audience is transported through Turner’s remarkable journey, from her humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her meteoric rise to stardom and her triumphant emergence as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

One of the most astonishing aspects of the production is the stunning performance of Ruva Ngwenya portraying Tina Turner. With electrifying energy and impeccably, velvety vocals, she captures Turner’s essence, from her raw vulnerability to her unstoppable resilience. Her vocal prowess is exceptional: she belts out hits such as ‘Rive Deep Mountain High’ with uncanny accuracy. The audience is taken on an emotional rollercoaster as they witness Turner’s triumphs and tribulations, rooting for her every step of the way.

The musical’s narrative is skillfully woven together, by the magic of the creative team, seamlessly transitioning between pivotal moments in Turner’s life. From her tumultuous relationship with Ike Turner to her courageous decision to break free and forge her own path, each scene is brought to life with dynamic choreography, dazzling costumes, and iconic hits like “Proud Mary,” “What’s Love Got to Do with It,” and “Nutbush City Limits.”

The entire cast were beyond incredible and hugely invested in each and every moment in the show.

Giovanni Adams’ villainous portrayal of Ike Turner is chillingly convincing. He brought a depth to the character, exposing both Ike’s charisma and dark abusive tendencies with intensity and complexity.

Jayme-Lee Hanekom as Alline, Tina’s sister was a shining star. From her beaming pride in her sister, to her role as an all singing, all dancing Ikette, she held my attention every time she stepped on that stage.

Young Lucy Bowyer played Anna Mae, the child who grow up to be the superstar Tina Turner. Her joyful liveliness and superb vocals had the audience cheering for her during the finale.

John O’Hara commanded the comedy with his interpretation of Phil Spector and Terry Britten; clever caricatures of these notable people.

Adelaide natives, Nadia Komazec and Matthew Prime, played Rhonda Gramm and Erwin Bach respectively.

Komazec’s portrayal as Tina’s longtime manager and confidante is strong, savvy and a fiercely loyal woman, who has an instrumental part in shaping Tina Turner’s legendary career.

Prime’s version of Tina’s partner and eventual second husband is loving and calming and portrays a grounding force who helps her find the courage to embrace her true self, on her own terms.

Beyond the music, the production delves into deeper themes of identity, perseverance, and self-discovery. Turner’s story serves as a compelling testament to the human spirit, reminding audiences that no obstacle is insurmountable with determination and resilience.

The finale, bringing it back to the beginning tableau and song, blew the roof off – with a dazzling display of arena style lighting, the huge band hurling towards the audience and bursting with rock and roll power and the sound of a soul survivor vibrating through the theatre.

While Tina – The Tina Turner Musical pays homage to Turner’s legendary career, it also celebrates her as a symbol of empowerment and revolution. It’s a testament to her enduring legacy and a reminder of the transformative power of music.

From start to finish, this musical extravaganza is an unforgettable experience that will leave audiences singing, dancing, and inspired long after the final curtain call.

5 stars


*side note: I was privy to seeing Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy play Tina during a preview performance, and by golly, to have not one but two incredible powerhouses interpreting this iconic role, we are lucky indeed!


Lia Loves.

Lia Loves
Lia Loves
Theatre. Dance. Culture. Events. Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts contributor, educator and ambassador!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *