REVIEW: SIX (Arts Theatre) ★★★★★
Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived.
Perhaps one of the most (in)famous kings there ever was, Henry VIII is remembered for many things. However, Brits in particular know him for his six wives. We all have our favourites (Anne Boleyn has always been a heroine of mine… and yes I probably would’ve had my head chopped off too), but each of these women had their own story to tell. And they’ve finally got a platform.
The beauty about Six (by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss) is that you go in with a slight sense of foreboding and come out feeling empowered, elated and energised. Or I did anyway. Each Queen oozes sass and the personalities really shine through. It’s a feminist show that draws parallels between the 16th century and today – women have come a long way, but we still have our struggles.
Anne of Cleves (Alexia McIntosh) is the sass queen who was married to Henry for 10 minutes (because he didn’t like her profile picture) but moves on and lives her best life, as she sings ‘nobody tells me I need a rich man; doing my thang in my palace in Richmond!’ Anne Boleyn (Millie O’Connell) just wanted to have fun, but (no less different from today) because she was so ambitious and refused to fall into line, she fell foul of a man who didn’t like being told what to do…
I genuinely couldn’t tell you which my favourite song is, because they’re all fantastic and memorable. There are ballads (Heart of Stone is fabulous), dance numbers and catchy tunes – something for everyone. But for me it’s the lyrics that really take this show to the next level. They’re clever and witty, making good use of the complexities and homonyms of the English language, to ensure the songs are full of double entendres, nods to the past and today’s use of language (e.g. Sorry not Sorry, viral comments, L-O-L etc.).
However, this show did surprise me as I found myself feeling sorry for Katherine Howard (Aimee Atkinson) and really empathising with her situation. She’s often portrayed as a bit of a slut, but in Six she is just a girl being used and abused by powerful men. Most of us can relate to this and her song and the accompanying choreography is extremely powerful.
I tend to judge musicals on the number of songs I add to my playlist after seeing a show. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that after listening to ‘these rocking chicks… loved every song and each remix’ and I’ve had the Six soundtrack on repeat ever since… sorry not sorry!
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Photo: Idil Sukan
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