Thursday 17 October 2019

Tina Turner musical does not shy away from domestic abuse, star says

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith plays the singer’s abusive husband in the hit West End production.

Adrienne Warren and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith at the Olivier Awards nominations lunch (Ian West/PA)
Adrienne Warren and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith at the Olivier Awards nominations lunch (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

The star of the musical about Tina Turner’s life has said it was important the show did not shy away from the domestic abuse the singer suffered at the hands of her ex-husband Ike.

Speaking at a lunch organised to celebrate this year’s Olivier Award nominees, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who plays Ike, said the hit musical was a “truthful representation” of the famous soul vocalist’s life.

Tina’s troubled marriage to Ike began in 1962 and ended in 1978 two years after they split. In her autobiography I, Tina, the singer revealed multiple instances of severe domestic abuse.

Tina Turner is the subject of the hit West End musical (Ian West/PA)

Holdbrook-Smith said: “In terms of how we handle it dramatically, we don’t shy away from it because it’s an important part of the story – of their history.

“It’s a very truthful representation of the difficulty that came from the acrimony between the two.”

US actress Adrienne Warren, who plays Tina, said the pair had needed the utmost trust to act out scenes of violence in the West End production.

Warren said: “I think trust is a big factor for the two of us specifically, for the Ike and Tina characters.

“We do check in every single night with each other. You have to be able to know that they have your back no matter what.

“They are your dance partner. They are your combat partner.”

Tina: The Musical is nominated at the Olivier Awards in the best new musical, best actor in a musical and best actress in a musical categories.

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