The name Ruva Ngwenya may not ring many bells, but you’re not likely to forget it after seeing her powerhouse performance in the musical TINA.

Taking to the stage as Tina Turner, the Australian-Zimbabwean performer has the audience in the palm of her hand in next to no time, and on its feet in a rapturous standing ovation by the end.

TINA The Musical

Ruva Ngwenya and the Ikettes in TINA – The Tina Turner Musical, Sydney, 2023. Photo © Daniel Boud

TINA – The Tina Turner Musical has the blessing of the legendary queen of rock ‘n’ roll whose story it tells, with Turner and her second husband Erwin Bach listed as Executive Producers. It’s just as well there is such an electrifying performance at its heart, because the biographical jukebox show has a thin book.

Written by Katori Hall with Franke Ketelaar and Kees Prins, the narrative is fairly formulaic in its telling. Unfolding chronologically, the show moves from Anna Mae Bullock’s childhood in Nutbush, where she is deserted by her tough mother, to her musical relationship and...