Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’ musical Six is taking the West End, and the world by storm. Telling the stories of the six wives of Henry VIII through the form of an epic, high energy, hugely entertaining pop concert, it is a hit with fans of all ages. This is in part due to the fantastic writing but also thanks to the sublime cast who bring the queens to life every night.
Vicki Manser joined the show in January as an amazing alternate who gets a chance to don the crown of each queen and strut her stuff at the Arts Theatre. Vicki told us about the show, who she’d like to play her in her own pop concert musical and what she’d say to Henry VIII if she got the chance…
Can you describe the show in Six words?
Seventy-five minutes of pure genius.
You recently finished starring in Bat Out of Hell which is a rock musical, how does that compare vocally to performing in a pop musical?
In terms of vocal technique rock and pop sit quite closely together and share a lot of the same placements so in some ways very similar actually. But I definitely get to use more speech quality and character driven singing in Six, for example in Boleyn’s song and Cleves’ song, and I just love that the whole show is a gig/concert type vibe. I get to pretend to be a pop star for an hour and 15 minutes and that is SO FUN! Your vocals are also much more exposed in Six with there only being six of you onstage as opposed to 20 plus so there is no where to hide. Not that I tried to in Bat, I couldn’t even if I wanted to with that pink mullet!
If you could go back to Henry VIII’s time which queens life would you like to live?
None of them! As much as I love learning about the Tudor history and telling the Queens’ stories, I don’t fancy having to live any of their lives. But I guess if I absolutely had to, then being given your own palace in Richmond wouldn’t be too shabby. So Cleves it is!
Which wife do you think had the worse life?
Well, none of them had it fantastic, but Howard has gotta be up there with the worst. Her story of abuse started so young before Henry was even on the scene. She had to be married to him when she was just 16 and he was 49 and then she was beheaded. I know, I know!
If you could say anything to Henry VIII what would you say?
‘Off with his head!’ No, I’m kidding… two wrongs don’t make a right guys.
If your life was going to be made into a pop musical, who would you want to play you?
I think my little sister, Kimberley Manser, is the perfect candidate for this! She knows me inside out and backwards so would play me and all my quirks down to a T. She’s great at impressions and she always answers my phone to my boyfriend and he thinks it’s me every time. She’s also the most sensational pop singer (not even being biased lol) so she’d make me sound really good.
You’re Artistic Director of Sharpe Academy, tell us a bit about that I am indeed!!! So Sharpe Academy is a Musical Theatre school that’s been running all across North West London for 11 years and this year we are opening a brand new college offering a 3 year Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre which I am so excited for! I trained with Sharpe before my professional training and then went on to be their company choreographer and now I’m Artistic Director for the college! I have always loved choreographing and teaching and I can’t wait to share my knowledge with aspiring performers and help them to reach their goals! So if you have finished your GCSE’s OR A levels and are looking for a vocational course and professional training to get you industry ready, come and check us out!
We have a FANTASTIC team of people with tonnes of experience to offer in dance, singing, acting and acrobatics and are very fortunate to have our INCREDIBLE patrons supporting us; Carrie Hope Fletcher, Matt Lucas and Giovanni Spanó. We also hold a Guinness World Record for the fastest theatrical production so that’s pretty cool! Come join the Fam!
What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring performers? The industry is HARD… there is no point in sugar coating it … but if you’re determined, you work hard, believe in yourself and NEVER give up .. then one day you will get there … no matter how long it takes!
Six is currently running at the Arts Theatre and will be embarking on a UK Tour from October 2019
Interview by Olivia Mitchell
photo credit: Danny Kaan