Reviews from Rhyl and Scarborough

UK Cabaret review
Totally Tina
Rhyl Pavilion Theatre and Touring
July ‘23
Producer: Justine Riddoch
Reviewer: Mark Ritchie
The recently much missed music legend Tina Turner truly deserves to be ‘tributed’ by only the very best of vocalist’s dancers and musicians. This is precisely what is on offer here from this high-end production show attraction, which comes complete with ‘techies’ and a huge live band, fronted by the force of nature that is Justine Riddoch.
I have been following the career of Ms Riddoch for many long years now and it is 15-years since the full Totally Tina show was launched. Recent additions and new segments seem to have been added, in my view, making even better use of the band and their showman guitarist and saxophone players, who both also contribute vocally with some aplomb.
Aside from the banger hits, we heard covers in the Totally Tina show which were certainly performed by Ms Turner during her concerts, from the likes of John Waite, Robert Palmer and Al Green. I would suggest these more recent additions to the set-list may well have been inserted to add even further add zest and freshness into this two-hour long concert, which seemed to go by in a flash.
I sat in the stalls during the first half, before joining a friend in the circle later, who I spotted during the interval and who happened to have one of the very few empty seats available right next to her. Higher up in the auditorium, the sound clarity and quality seemed even better still and Ms Riddoch’s much-celebrated spot-on perfect vocal impression is at its very peak.
The four-handed female dance troupe managed to showcase the elaborate and pure showbiz aspect, which shows of this type can display in terms of costuming and choreography. An item involving the dancers in LED lit bikini costumes delighted the whooping and hollering crowd.
I know there is some competition within the touring tribute production show market. I mean no disrespect to any of the other Tina Turner tributes I have seen on my travels over the years, but there is no doubt, in my mind at least and certainly within the collective consciousness of so many tribute music fans that Justine Riddoch as Tina Turner is Simply the Best!

UK Cabaret Review
Spa Theatre Scarborough
Summer show ’23 until September 9th.
Producer: Tony Peers
Reviewer: Mark Ritchie
Another opening of another Scarborough Spa Theatre summer show and it was wonderful to see the show producer Tony Peers in such fine fettle. The 2023 offering is following the success of the previous year, when the 2022 production found such favour with a markedly increased amount of business reported.
A seven handed cast of singers and dancers here presenting a slick and fast-moving confection of songs from the shows and the movies. The routines, set to very clever musical arrangements, some in segue form, are dovetailed together with a tight lighting plot and manage to accentuate all the dancing dancing and yet more dancing.
Not a variety show this time around, more of a song and dance production show, starring the impressive male lead performer Carl Patrick Morris, looking every inch the leading man amongst a company of lovely hoofers. A vocal lightness of touch from Mr Morris, fits perfectly with the demands of keeping his end of the terpsichorean content up.
A lovely wildly enthusiastic and supportive audience on press night will have been warmly welcomed I am sure by the youthful cast. The company also features female singers Zoe Wright and Abbie Chambers and dancers Ben Carter, Charlie Ann, Elysia Pemberton and Stephen Alexander will all have been tickled pink by the collective reaction of all out front.
A very unsettled and rainy night on the dramatic south bay of Scarborough seafront was largely forgotten once inside this Victorian music hall type of theatre.
Particular highlights of the show for me personally included a tight and slickly delivered disco music hits section, where memories of The Gap Band, Dan Hartman and a selection of disco-divas, including the great Donna Summer were rekindled. I have also never heard two female vocalists harmonising a version of the Bond film tune Licence to Kill. This was another of the vocal highlights.
By the time this review appears, I trust the British summer will finally have arrived, although arriving early on the south bay seafront, as is my custom, for my obligatory ice-cream treat from the Harbour Bar was provided by a temporary respite from the summer deluge. I also took the opportunity to chat with wonderful panto-dame Darren Johnson and his lovely family in the bar, prior to the show, which is always a treat!

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