After reading that Liverpool born Justine Riddoch and her band 'Totally Tina' have held the title of No.1 Tina Turner tribute act for the past five years and had recently receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award, I left home with the expectations that this show could be something special. I was not disappointed. 'Totally Tina' is an absolute assault of sound and vision.
The fabulously flamboyant costumes and the projected images of both The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll herself ,Tina Turner and 'Totally Tina' in concert were framed by four female dancers named 'Totally Tina's Totty' who only helped to enhanced the visual spectacle of this polished production show. The lighting added subtle mood and ambience but never distracted or dominated.
Elevated on a raised platform upstage, the authentic band of five musicians sounded quite simply superb. The sound mix was first class and a big thumbs up goes to the sound technician. A special mention must go to Andy the saxophonist, who had me riveted both as a musician and a frequent vocalist within the show. His duet with Miss Riddoch of ‘It Takes two' was the first number to get the audience singing along and the comedic rapport between the two was natural and highly entertaining.
Centre stage was of course taken by the 2002 'Stars in their Eyes' winner Miss Riddoch who embodied the very essence of Tina Turner, the detail in this performance was exquisite and never just imitation. From the very opening number, her stunning and authentic voice oozed charisma and class. Her mannerisms and conversational style, began a fluid and detailed dialogue with the audience. An extensive catalogue of hits were flawlessly paraded and interjected with interesting historical facts of the songs origins and the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll's life story. Songs from Tina Turner's film career such as 'Golden eye' and 'We Don't need another Hero' soulfully sat alongside firm favourites such as 'Private Dancer', 'River Deep, Mountain High', 'Nut Bush City Limits' and 'Steamy Windows'. My personal favourite was a very intimate acoustic set including the cover song 'Let's Stay together', this worked beautifully in the cosy setting of a small theatre.
The entire audience unsurprisingly, were on their feet and in the aisles at their excellent version of 'Proud Mary'. Finally, how else could a tribute show conclude but with a fitting homage to its muse; the now 76 year old, 3 time Grammy award winner, Tina Turner; with a roof raising rendition of 'Your Simply the Best'. There was definitely an overwhelming demand for one more song and after the much deserved encore, 'Addicted to Love' completed the set. The 'Totally Tina' artistes offered a 'meet and greet' to the audience in the bar afterwards. This was very much in keeping with the warmth and gratitude Miss Riddoch bestowed on her audience throughout the show.
If I was to make one slight criticism of an otherwise wonderfully nostalgic night, I would have to say I do feel that the stage at the Wakefield Theatre Royal was somewhat restrictive for such an aesthetic and detailed performance, as the staging felt a little cramped at times. I am sure 'Totally Tina' could regally grace any arena venue and fully exploit the sheer exuberance of this production.
Go seek out this highly acclaimed Tribute Act, 'Totally Tina' will keep you 'Totally Transfixed!'
Reviewer: Tracey Bell
Reviewed: 1st February 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★★