|Nkeki Obi-Melekwe was fabulous|
Review by Lulu Everhart
Tina, the play about the life of Tina Turner, just opened last summer when we were in London.
Harry is a magician at getting very good tickets for all the plays I want to see but this one was
impossible. I had hoped it was still playing this summer and was happy to see that it was. Time
was running out as we were going home in 4 days and it would be my last chance to see a
matinee on Thursday after my final class. My ticket magician didn’t disappoint (more on this in his blog) and we were all set for 2:30 p.m. show.
Biographies are my favorite reading genre and Tina’s book in the 80’s was a riveting tale. By
now we all know the story of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband Ike, her rise to fame as a solo artist. The play was getting outstanding reviews and I had a feeling that this
show would be special. I even bought a 12 pound program when I entered the theatre. Let’s just say it did not disappoint. The lead, Nkeki Obi-Melekwe was fabulous. She WAS Tina Turner. She could act, sing, dance (oh, could she dance). My program came in handy for some inside information – the young woman just graduated from the University of Michigan in 2018 – I couldn’t believe she was that young and play such a mature role. I am now a full-fledged fan and will follow her career and try to see her in everything she does in the future. The supporting roles were equally excellent. Ike, Tina’s mother, the Ikettes, all of them. The young girl who played Tina as a child could belt out a song that filled the theatre and was adorable in her dress and pigtails.
The sets reinforced the story and were more elaborate than are the typical in London. And in
several scenes the live band was on stage as part of the story and for the electric finale. As we walked home on a perfect London evening, we talked about seeing one more play on Saturday
but decided to leave perfection alone and conclude our theatre-going season with Tina.
Video ends with Proud Mary.
After thoughts by Harry.
I hope the video I posted shows up here - it may be pulled by the censors. I shot it using an iphone in my shirt pocket - I think it is quite good considering. Simply - at 9 AM I went to the box office. They had first and second row seating left - and sold me two for 31 pounds each. I had the choice of front row end or second row middle. They were smashing seats but sometimes heads got in the way.
At 2:30 - we were in our seats - ready for action.
Tina's story is compelling but not uncommon for American women - that is - American men being me-firsters. When American women finally get the chance to spread their wings - it will be a better place. Tina has to deal with - being black - being a women - and being poor. She had talent and persistence in spades. I am dating myself but she reminds me of Josephine Baker. Tina is a great American success story.We loved Tina.