Reviews Roundup- Tina: The Tina Turner The Musical 3.9★

The Aldwych

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Most reviews of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical date back to its opening in 2018. The reviewers often gave its then star Adrienne Warren as much or more praise than the musical. This makes it hard to decide how much difference her successors will make to the evening’s entertainment. Having said that, there’s no reason to suppose the current lead is any less impressive.

[Links to full reviews are included but a number are behind paywalls and therefore may not be accessible]

Dominic Cavendish of the Telegraph (5★) called it ‘slickly choreographed, beautifully designed and roof-raisingly well-sung bio-musical.’  Neil Norman in The Express (5★) was another evangelist for the show, going so far as to say: ‘This is one of those shows that has healing power.’ He enthused, ‘Phyllida Lloyd’s dazzling production has you in its grip throughout.’

The much-missed Michael Billington in  The Guardian (4★) described it as ‘a heady celebration of triumph over adversity’…’both intelligent and consistently good to look at’ ‘As bio-musicals go,’ he said, ‘this is as good as it gets.’ Paul Taylor at The Independent (4★) proclaimed, ‘It has everything going for it.’ He cites the back catalogue and the ‘inspiring story’. He did have reservation: ‘Katori Hall’s book feels like a brisk summary of events, as it hops too evenly from one episode to another.’ In complete contrast, Anne Treneman in The Times (4★) said, ‘the story rarely dips into the superficial.’  For her it was ‘a show that reaches the parts most bio-theatre doesn’t touch.’

There were momentsTim Bano’s review in The Stage (4★) that made one wonder if the four stars were acting as a fifth column to lure readers in and then put them off: ‘nothing about the production is particularly interesting or innovative. It’s a standard bio-musical’ and ‘The design is unimaginative, the story skeletal’ and ‘pure hagiography’. Even some of his praise is of the ‘with friends like these’ quality: ‘wrapped around the bare bones of this extraordinary woman’s life, we watch a Tina Turner tribute band of supreme quality’. But he was absolutely clear the musical is ‘incredible’.

Fiona Mountford writing in those days for The Standard (3★) didn’t share the enthusiasm of the above. ‘this musical never fully sparks into life,’ she opined, explaining, ‘the material surprisingly lacks rigour, too often staying in soft-focus when a more forensic examination is required.’ ‘Simply the best? Not quite,’ she concluded.

‘Is a feelgood jukebox musical the absolute best medium to tell a story about domestic abuse?’ questioned Andrzej Lukowski at Time Out (3★) and answered ‘too often Phyllida Lloyd’s production struggles to make a sensitive synthesis of the two.’ Lloyd directs fluidly and at a pace, but there is, also, a weird feeling of it being clogged with ephemera.’ Despite his reservations, he concedes ‘it’s an entertaining night’.

Michael Arditti for the Sunday Express (3★) was possibly the least appreciative, calling it ‘a banal and scrappy account of the singer’s rise’ and commenting: ‘it is less an integrated musical than a Tina Turner tribute show with a highly accomplished central performance.’

It always fascinates me the way critics bring their own expectations to a show. So while Michael Billington (The Guardian) lamented ‘I’d have liked to have heard more about how her Baptist upbringing and Buddhist conversion sustained her during the dark times.’  Time Out’s Andrzej Lukowski pleaded, ‘Do we need interludes about Tina’s Buddhism?’

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical is booking until 31 May 2025. Buy tickets directly here

Average critics’ rating 3.9★
Value Rating 31 (Value rating is the Average Critic Rating moderated by the typical ticket price. In theory, this means the higher the score the better value but, because of price variations, a West End show could be excellent value if it scores above 30 while an off-West End show may need to score above 60.

If you’ve seen Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, please add your review and rating below

Be the first to write a review

Leave a Reply

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