Theatre Review: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Having opened at London’s Aldwych Theatre back in April, Tina is an energetic jukebox musical that celebrates the life and music of the legend that is Tina Turner (played here by American performer Adrienne Warren)

It starts by taking the audience back to the singer’s humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee where Tina – born Anna Mae Bullock – meets her soon to be husband, Ike Turner, at one of his concerts.

Anna Mae gets brought up onto the stage and, though she’s young, her vocals are powerful and sublime. Ike notices her talent and asks her mother’s permission to take her on tour with him as a featured singer for Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm.

When recording songs, Ike and the producers thought it would sell more records if Anna Mae changed her name so that people believed the pair were married. Anna Mae was already in a relationship but she went along with it to help the record achieve greater success.

Tina Turner the Musical shares the story of how turbulent Ike and Tina’s relationship was, with Ike’s fiery temper leaving band members and Tina herself unable to stand up to him.

The narrative switches seamlessly between stage and private life, with Tina having two children (one with Raymond Hill, the band’s saxophonist, with whom she was in a relationship with, and another with Ike).

All the old Tina favourites are featured including It’s Gonna Work Out FineA Fool in Love and River Deep Mountain High, which Warren performs with pitch-perfect precision.

The second half of the show sees Tina trying to make it as a solo performer and desperately trying to earn money to make ends meet.

She takes a risk and flies to London where she has a few weeks to record an album with a more rock sound. Met with pushbacks, Tina shows her drive and determination to make it as a singer without the help from her now ex-husband Ike.

The show ends with an encore of Tina’s most successful songs to date, treating audience members to The Best, as well as a reprise of Nutbush City Limits and Proud Mary, which sees the audience on their feet and singing along to the iconic tracks.

Overall, The Tina Turner Musical is a great success, with the vocals, story and tracks taking theatregoers through an emotional rollercoaster of how Tina became the success she is today.


An Audience with Jimmy Savile at The Park

The title of the play alone is enough to send chills down anyone’s spine. Is it too soon, can it be seen as glorifying Jimmy Savile’s crimes or too sick to be dramatized into a play? McGowen set to undertake Savile in play production.

The first of a month’s run at North London’s Park Theatre a play created by Jonathan Maitland and sees a focus on 1991 –the year where Savile received a knighthood and his ‘celebrity status’ was at a height in the UK.

A narrative juxtaposing between a This is your Life forefront with the praising of Savile and his achievements, featuring voiceovers of Margret Thatcher and Cardinal Hume, while in reality the ‘saint like’ figure was being accused of sexual harassment and assault on the productions he worked on.  Both contexts of the play give a glimpse of the two sides to Savile’s life and in particular how controlling he was.

Leading the cast was impressionist Alistair McGowan, who plays the grotesque man in question with an eerie resemblance to Savile with his mannerisms, characteristics and distinctive accent being brought back to life. The production, which has already received controversy over the topic being too soon, stuck true to form by embarking on the full costume attire Savile was seen in – a metallic tracksuit, blonde wig and cigar kept McGowen’s performance mesmerising of being transformed into a truly monstrous man.

The first allegation sees a BBC researcher walk in on Savile’s dressing room, whom he was with a young girl, in which the researcher reports Savile to a BBC boss. Nevertheless begins the journey of how Savile got away with one of the biggest sex scandals, with the BBC boss simply responding ‘That’s Jimmy, that is who he is and what he does’ leaving audience members still in shock four years since Savile’s death.An-Audience-with-Jimmy-Savile-300x450

The main allegation focused on Lucy, played by Leah Whitaker, whose performance is compelling with every audience member feeling empathy towards her character. Lucy’s story sees her come forward, on how she was abused by Savile in a hospitalaged 12, reporting both to the police and an editor of a newspaper. The only person throughout the play to believe Lucy’s character is the editor until Savile manipulation is attained.

Savile’s celebrity status and power over the lawyers, police and several journalists were extraordinary by having ‘Friday morning clubs’ and discussing the allegations and claims that were made against him from that week, with victims had no chance of bringing Savile to justice.

The play features real events from Savile’s past by including his work at Broadmoor; Jim’ll Fix It and the marathons he ran. McGowen makes eye contact and interacts with members of the front row on why it was called “Jim’ll” rather than “Jim will” believing it would be more relatable to the public. Notably Savile’s persona was for the public and with the public with frequent references throughout the play of his charity work and how much money he has ‘raised for the little kiddies’.

The dark context divulges on Savile’s incidents discussing his visit to the hospitals late at night and how Lucy’s character describes her seeing Savile ‘jump on a woman before calmly walking out again’. These descriptions only contribute to the further chilling, indiscrete human being with the play not glorifying his crimes but proving how unsettling Savile really was.

An Audience with Jimmy Savile draws extensively from witness statements and police interview transcripts, with the attention to detail being notable in the production.  During police questioning and seeing Savile fidget- by hating not being in control of the situation and how close the victim’s stories were brought to the public attention.  As each allegation was listed Savile would respond with a repetitive “Out of the Question” remark –brazenly avoiding the claims.

Savile’s persona was undeterminably disillusioned  using charity work to abuse and assault hundreds of victims using elite people and organisations such as the BBC,  the Royals and the law to enforce his ‘clear conscience’ to the public and be made to believe he is a honourable and ordinary celebrity fundraiser.

Since the allegations were bought to light Savile has received extensive coverage through newspapers, TV and books. An Audience with Jimmy Savile does not glorify his crimes but tells a story and a report of the news on the extraordinary crimes he committed.  The purpose of the play is to present the ordeals his victims went through with the victim’s voices finally being heard.



Captain America: The Soldier Presents: The Marvel Exhibition (Review)

To celebrate the DVD release of Captain America: The Winter Solider, Marvel have launched a special exhibition at Forge & Co, in the heart of East London’s Shoreditch. The exhibition, which is open to the public from 15-18 August, sees Marvel inspired artwork from the likes of Mondo and Matt Ferguson.

The exhibition was launched on Thursday night, giving us an exclusive first look at the exciting display of art. Forge & Co was packed with fans, press and celebrities who, like us, were all fans of the famous comic book series. It wasn’t just Captain America inspired work on show, with the exhibition also featuring numerous Marvel comic and film characters such as Hulk and Hawkeye.IMG_1897

It was, however, Cap who stole the show. A vast Captain America statue dominated the room upon entry, with many attendees posing for pictures with the commanding figure. A DJ was also in place to keep the room from being a typical art gallery exhibition, allowing a lively yet relaxed approach to the event.

The free allocation of tasty food and drink helped to get the launch into full swing with Marvel fans mingling and interacting as they talked about the fantastic artwork. Crowd-pleasing Captain America cupcakes were given out with #CAPSBACK and the famous ‘A’ decorating the icing.

The artwork on display included an eye-catching piece by Matt Ferguson featuring all the characters from the Avengers and their super powers. Each image represented the spirit of Marvel, and reflected the vibrancy, fun and fictional world that has become so popular over the last few years.

The exhibition is a must see for any Marvel fan. Even if you’re not into comics, there are some brilliant art pieces on show for a limited time only. The exhibition is free to the general public, with the event running from 12PM-6PM until Monday (18) evening.

Captain America: The Winter Solider is released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 18.

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