Where: Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, London E8 1EJ
How much: £10-£27.50
How long: 2hrs 30mins (including interval)
Running until: 5th May 2012
Merchandise: Programme £3
Drinks: Beers £3.50-£4, Wine £4.50, Water £2
Ice Cream: £2
Review performance date: Saturday April 14 2012 (matinee)
|When I heard this show was opening I knew I had to see it but I was a little concerned with how I was supposed to find my way to Hackney!
Wilma is usually a west end girl but it turns out Hackney Empire is a straightforward 8 minute train journey from Stratford… easy!
The lovely Hackney Empire holds 1300 people and has been called ‘the most beautiful theatre in London’. Being just outside of the west end means you can buy a programme, ice cream and drink for under £10! Not bad for those on a budget (or pension)!
This brand new musical tells the story of when Tina Turner met Ike Turner at 16 years old, joining his band and falling in love. The show explores their turbulent 20 year marriage of abuse and unfaithfulness. The powerful performance led to a round of applause when Tina finally hit back at Ike, although 20 years too late.
Having a hit song like “Private Dancer” to open the show was a risky thing to do, meaning the audiences expectations would be high for the rest of the show. But the closing song of the first half “River Deep, Mountain High” made you realise there were bigger and better things to come in the second half!
“Proud Mary”, “Respect”, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, “Addicted to Love” and of course, saving the best for last “Simple The Best”.
Ike and Tina song are mixed in with the story, giving it a real time feeling of them being on stage with their story unfolding behind the scene.
The simple stage layout of this show makes a real statement, saying ‘we don’t need a fancy set in order to be a great show’. Video screens come into play for elements of the story, showing Tina’s drug overdose (a desperate attempt to get away from her husband).
This was the first performance of this show and I would love to see it in a couple of weeks time when the performances are more slick. Some of the dancers seemed confused at times and could have done with more rehearsal time.
The mixed audience of old and young didn’t seem to care and danced along with their favourite songs. You could sense that a lot of people have been waiting in anticipation for a long time to see this show and judging by their reactions, they weren’t disappointed.
The final 5 songs of the show were performed back to back, making it feel somewhat like a tribute concert and leaving me a little confused as to why the story in the first half of the show seemed to be somewhat rushed, when there was obviously room at the end to elaborate on things like Tina’s pregnancy (for which she was pregnant for only 2 minutes in the show).
Not being a hardcore Tina Turner fan, I still thought the show was very good and anyone would find this interesting story appealing. Tina fans will obviously go wild for it and there were many of those in the audience today giving it a real ‘feel good’ vibe.
With some polishing up this show could easily transfer to the west end.