Arts Theatre, London – until 14 October 2018
As someone who grew up spending her weekends visiting Hampton Court Palace, Six is pretty much my ideal musical. Bringing the wives of Henry VIII to us live in concert and changing HIStory to HERstory, this show is a celebration of girl power and shows us that there’s far more to the rhyme we all grew up hearing.
Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six is fresh, modern and unlike anything I’ve experienced. The lyrics are fast paced and extremely clever but draw you in so much that at no point do you find yourself struggling to understand them. Each Queen has a distinct style which works fantastically.
From the jazzy feel of Catherine Parr’s solo to Catherine of Aragon’s Beyoncé style song, all the music feels relatable and makes you feel you could be friends with any of the Six ladies. Each Queen is inspired by current pop stars with the cast bringing clear influences from pop culture as well as making the roles truly individual and memorable. As their respective wives (Ex-Wives *mic drop*) Jarneia Richard-Noel, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Alexia McIntosh, Aimie Atkinson and Maiya Quansah-Breed are outstanding.
It’s unfair to talk about them individually as they all bring so much to the show and despite having solos, make this show the united, ensemble piece it’s meant to be. The Ladies in Waiting, aka the onstage band, bring energy and even more power to Six.
Emma Bailey’s set is simplistic in the tiny space of the Arts Theatre but extremely fitting, with the black box almost becoming a chapel where we can worship these powerful women. Tim Deiling’s lighting helps achieve the pop concert vibe and is especially effective in Haus of Holbein where Anna of Cleves tells her story accompanied by strobe lights and fluorescent neck ruffs.
Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s choreography is sharp and fills the space extremely well. Alongside Gabriella Slade’s fabulous and flirty costumes and Jimmy Jones’ chiselled makeup looks, the ladies really do own the Arts Theatre and become the hottest girl group in London. Six is inventive, coherent, uplifting and full to the brim with talent. The varying tempos and genres make the piece continually engaging and the “Britishness” of it all is truly wonderful when so much of the West End is currently/soon to be dominated by imported shows. Henry VIII may have been the Tudor King, but these Queens are the rulers of London theatre. Six runs at the Arts Theatre until 14th October, and then tours around the country photo credit: Idil Sukan