Soul Sister is an autobiographical piece of theatre that tracks the stormy relationship of Ike and Tina Turner’s life together. The show follows the peaks and troughs, the passion and despair, as their careers blossom whilst their marriage crumbles. The drive, enthusiasm and utter determination to succeed when discrimination and racism are common, underpins this true life story co-devised and directed by Pete Brooks and John Miller.
Undoubtedly Emi Wokoma cast as Tina Turner is the star of the show. She personifies black soul music, strong yet volatile, raunchy yet sensuous. Her vitality and sheer dynamism totally demonstrate her stellar presence, endurance, and inner strength of character in this enormous role. Her voice is simply stunning and never weakens despite being on stage throughout the performance. She emulates Tina Turner’s awkward dancing and movements extraordinarily. Her rendition of ‘Help’, by the Beatles, is haunting and shows undeniably the true depths to this fine actress.
Chris Tummings plays the powerful, but sadly flawed character of Ike Turner perfectly. His portrayal of a brutal and sexist, over-dominant husband is moving and disturbing in equal parts. The gradual decline in their relationship is exacerbated by his downward spiral into drug addiction and persistent womanising.
The supporting roles are played at various intervals by the four backing singers and the musicians, all to great effect. The choreography is electrifying, full of verve and spirit and the saxophonist really hits the spot.
The musicians are sublime. The tempo and raw excitement of the musical numbers pound out to perfection, superbly matching the zest and fire of Tina’s performances.
The back projection of scenes, signs and narrative work exceptionally well to support a fairly weak storyline. The scene changes are deftly marked by perfectly synchronised sliding panels. There is of course plenty of sparkle, tassels and booty shaking!! rousing the audience into a dancing ovation at the finale.
This production cannot really be classified as a musical show; it is more akin to a tribute concert. Despite the fact it falls between these two genres, if you are a fan of Tina Turner, you will love this!