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Aisha Jawando and Jammy Kasongo discuss leading Tina – The Tina Turner Musical's return

The pair have returned to the show

Aisha Jawando (Tina Turner) and Jammy Kasongo (Ike Turner)
© Dan Kennedy

The feeling that venues are gradually reopening and audiences are safely flooding back to the West End is, to be honest, "simply the best"! Speaking of which, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical is preparing to return to the Aldwych Theatre, and the show's two leads Aisha Jawando and Jammy Kasongo chatted to us about making their return to the stage.

How do you think the show will gain more importance as we reopen the West End? 

AJ: I think it's always been important – but as we reopen I hope people will understand how important the arts are because they are surrounded by it day in and day out. 

JK: Coming out of multiple lockdowns and being on and off this roller coaster called Covid, everyone has been faced with some kind of struggle.  Seeing Tina persevere through her struggles, I think will resonate with people and embolden them to persevere through theirs. 

Both of you have been with the show since it first opened – how does it feel seeing it become a globe-trotting production? 

AJ: It's a beautiful thing. Really and truly. 

JK: There is a sense of immense pride and joy seeing where the show is now in comparison to where it's come from. To know that I got the opportunity to help create what is now, this global hit, is very humbling and rewarding.

Aisha Jawando as Tina Turner
© Manuel Harlan

Is there a moment in the show that you particularly enjoy presenting or watching / listening to (even if when you aren't on stage)?

AJ: NUTBUSH!!!! It has always been my favourite when I was a part of it. I love a good take it back to church number. 

JK: Any chance I get, I try to get in the wings. There are two moments that get me all up in my feels. One is at the end. For those who haven't seen it, I won't give anything away… other than, make sure you bring something to catch your jaw when it hits the floor.  The other is a powerful scene between Tina and her mother Zelma. The only word that comes even close to describing it, is beautiful.

How have rehearsals been, rediscovering the material after all these months? 

AJ: Oh my gosh. It's been magical! Finding so many new moments, working with a new cast and enjoying what they also bring to the stage. Just lush. 

JK: Hella dope. Coming back to the rehearsal room after so much time away, feels like your coming home from a long year at uni! Familiar but your parents have redone the kitchen whilst you were away.  There is this warm sense of nostalgia with this fresh new excitement for what is to come.

Did you watch the Tina documentary and how was it seeing the story presented on screen? 

AJ: I did watch it. Honestly, Tina constantly leaves me in awe. I feel like it resonated with me even more seeing it on screen. I can't quite explain it, but I think visuals help me understand stories more. 

JK: I watched that thing as soon as it came out! No matter how many times you do the show, rehearse it, review it, anything, watching the documentary reminds me of this extraordinary woman, and this brilliant and unfortunately very troubled man, and how despite it all, they still were able to create these genres and take the world by storm and that I am so damn fortunate that I get a crack at telling their powerful story.