Ike and Tina Turner infamously shared one of music's most turbulent and tortured relationships. Soul Sister, a brand new musical inspired by the life and times of the couple, captures neither the fire nor the fear of the couple's darkest hours.
Soul Sister arrives fresh from a short run in the West End. Much of the dialogue in the show feels like it has been lifted from a first draft of "What's Love Got to Do With It?", at times corny and conveying very little emotionally. The secondary characters have less volume than Turner's barnet and the book fails to truly capture neither the drama nor devastation of Ike and Tina's infamous relationship.
There is next to no dramatic overlap between the music and the storytelling, the musical choices in the first act are little known and, for the most part, the production feels like it would much rather be a tribute show. And one cannot help but feel that the somewhat stilted audience would agree.
The cast, though patchy in supporting roles, work well together. Emi Wokoma sings the part of Turner well and has the audience in raptures in the encore number of "Simply the Best" (apparently it's a popular song in Glasgow... Who would have suspected that?) and Chris Tummings has the swagger and anger of Ike perfected.
It isn't until the opening of the second act that the big wheel starts turning and Proud Mary truly starts burning. Nick Richings' lighting design fills the auditorium with colour, Jason Pennycooke's choreography steps up and the vocal performances begin to push the show to its "Nutbush City Limits". And there's your inevitable bad Tina Turner pun. End on a "River Deep, Mountain High".
Soul Sister is at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, until 19 January, 2013.