‘Marlow & Moss clearly have great technical and creative potential ahead of them’: SIX THE MUSICAL – Arts Theatre

In London theatre, Musicals, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Arts Theatre, London – until 14 October 2018

Beheadings are brutal and barbaric, whether they occurred five months or five centuries ago. And yet, with heads jauntily skewed, grim grins (albeit momentarily) and hand-held mics tightly grasped, the cast of Six The Musical make light of Henry VIII’s murderous misogyny.

Judging by the response to the show, both in its sold-out Edinburgh run and now at London’s Arts Theatre, the passage of time appears to condone such laughter. To be fair there is occasional light shed on some of the unpleasantness associated with being one of Henry’s six wives – witness the sinister hands that grope and paw at Aimie Atkinson’s Katherine Howard. But for the most part, the evening serves as a high-volume, sugar-coated history lesson, aimed at today’s reality-TV entertained masses and not having to make them think too hard.

If the show’s moral compass may be adrift, at least its technical standards are excellent. Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss have written some sassy songs, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s whip-smart choreography is well drilled while Tim Deiling’s stadium-inspired lighting only adds to the rock gig feel of the piece.

One might have hoped that today’s woke generation of theatre folk might have delivered more from a musical treatment of one of English history’s most monstrous monarchs, although at (thankfully) a little over an hour long, perhaps the creatives recognised the attention span of their target demographic. Ultimately though the same old metropolitan hypocrisies prevail, with the show serving as little more than shallow entertainment for its prosecco fuelled audiences. Marlow and Moss clearly have great technical and creative potential ahead of them – Six The Musical however deserves to be filed away in the history books, and soon.

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Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.
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Jonathan Baz on RssJonathan Baz on Twitter
Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends far beyond the capital to include regional theatre as well as occasional forays into Europe and the USA. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan also sits on the judging panel of London's Off West End Awards ("the Offies") and has published numerous interviews and features with leading figures in the film and theatre world. Away from the arts, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with a number of clients in the entertainment industries. He blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com and tweets at @MrJonathanBaz.

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