One of the perks of working for RedShift is that every now and then I get to go and do things I wouldn’t normally do.
Now tribute bands are not normally my “thing” – I’ve always thought “what’s the point?” But when I was offered two tickets to Totally Tina, a Tina Turner tribute, in return for writing a review, I jumped at the chance.
Why? Not because I’m a huge Tina Turner fan. Not because I desperately wanted to write a review. No, the reason I was disproportionately excited was because Mark’s and my social life has been pretty restricted of late, so we were due a good night out!
Our first stop was The Wilbrahams in Nantwich. We’d had a fabulous meal there before Christmas, so decided to call in for a main course en route to the theatre. We each tucked into a beautifully cooked sirloin steak with baked tomato, field mushroom and chunky chips. Mark also had a Diane sauce. Complemented by a glass of red wine, it was delicious.
FABULOUS EDWARDIAN THEATRE
We arrived at Crewe Lyceum a good 45 minutes before the performance was due to begin, so I enjoyed another glass of red in the bar before we took our seats in the stalls – row J, almost in the middle, so we had a great view of the stage.
It also gave me time to look around the theatre: I’d not really noticed before what a beautiful venue it is. The history of this Edwardian theatre is interesting: it originated as a converted Roman Catholic Church in 1876.
The church was replaced in 1887 by a purpose-built theatre, which burnt down in 1910. The theatre was rebuilt the following year, and was refurbished in 1994.
The proscenium, ceiling, balconies and boxes are all elaborately decorated with plasterwork. It really is the most beautiful theatre.
THE “TOTALLY TINA” SHOW
Onto the show itself … and what a show it was! Liverpool lass Justine Riddoch wowed last night’s audience with her interpretation of Tina Turner. Her performance was utterly believable – her mannerisms, facial expressions, walk, dance moves, were all “totally Tina.
“I try to capture the personality of Tina live in concert so there’s a lot of humour and interaction with the audience” says Justine on the show’s website.
She certainly achieved that during last night’s performance. In “Let’s Stay Together”, she and the bassist and guitarist sat on stools at the front of the stage and talked to the audience. There was plenty of boys vs girls interaction during “Nut Bush City Limits”. And then for “Rock Me Baby” she came off the stage and walked amongst audience, ruffling one man’s hair and gyrating next to another.
Throughout the show, “Tina” wore some stunning costumes, complemented by her trademark towering high heels. She opened the show in a red sequinned number, which morphed into a silver sequin minidress for “Burn Baby Burn”, the sixth song in.
Just before the interval, she changed into a fabulous long gold cloak with huge epaulettes for “Thunderdome”, offset by a screen at the back of the set playing clips from Mad Max.
In the second part, she opened wearing a magnificent pleated golden, winged gown. Two of her dancers also had winged costumes, whilst the other two had cream suits and revolvers. A complete contrast followed then for a 60s medley, with Tina in a black and white minidress, complemented with her dancers also in black and white.
For the final numbers, River Deep, Mountain High” and “Rollin’ on the River”, she wore a black beaded rara mini dress accompanied by four leather-clad dancers.
The band comprising guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboard player and saxophonist, also deserves a mention. They were tight as can be and clearly enjoying the performance. Jimmy the guitarist joined “Tina” on lead vocals for “Try a Little Tenderness” and he took solo lead for “Hot Legs” with the four dancers performing sensual and sometimes raunchy moves around him.
Towards the end of the show, more and more people were dancing at the front and in the aisles and by the time the performers had le
much everyone was on their feet. “Tina” returned ft the stage at the end of the set, pretty wearing a long silver & black sequinned gown and performed “Simply the Best” and a great cover of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”, for which Tina Turner is probably almost as famous as Robert himself was.