Soul Sister (Tour - Salford)
Soul Sister is a new musical that follows the turbulent life of Tina Turner. This amazing singer has been down many times but never out, as her determination and work ethic meant that even when her partner Ike left her penniless, she was able to climb back up to the top. The struggle, the success, the heartache and tears is all ideal material for a musical.
Emi Wokoma grabs the role by the scruff of the neck and runs with it. She often lifts the show when it flags and performs like an athlete. As a result, she is mesmerising to watch. She ploughs through the hits, the highs and the lows of Tina's life and even has enough energy to perform an exhilarating concert section at the end of the show. Chris Tummings is not really given much to do except sneer as Ike.
And it's a shame as he's a brilliant actor and he does bring far more than is on the page. You long to see why Ike was so charismatic and appealing to women and Tummings shows elements of that but there's not enough light and shade in Pete Brooks and John Miller's book.
Laura Hopkins' set is minimal and the video design by Simon Wainwright is over used. When Ike speaks to Tina, whilst she is ill in a hospital bed, she resembles King Kong - blown up - full screen behind him. The audience's imagination could be relied upon more, as sometimes less is more. The Ikettes are all brilliant - like a box of fireworks - going off in all directions and lighting up the stage.
There are flaws, but there is an overwhelming sense of love for the subject - from the performances to the excellent musicians and this passion - reaches out to the stalls and beyond and pulls you in. "What's Love Got to Do With it?" As it turns out - a great deal because by the end of the evening, you'll be up dancing like your life depends on it and celebrating the life of this legendary Soul Sister.
Once you surrender, this slick show leaves you determined to have a good night. So get down to the Lowry and "Shake a Tail Feather" because there's some energetic performers and a live band waiting to give you their very best.