Back in August 2017, one of the many things I saw at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was a show called ‘SIX’ – a (loosely based) historic look at Henry VIII’s six wives, written by two young students Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss.
Six women, one pop group, but who will be the lead singer? The only fair way to decide – who ever can demonstrate they had the worst marriage to Henry. One by one the girls take it in turns to sing a song about how bad they had it with ol’ Henry before finally deciding who is best suited to the job.
With an all female on stage band and all female cast, Six the Musical really is a show about female empowerment. Reclaiming their her-story and understanding that no one would even remember who Henry was, if not for them.
This is a 75 minute pop concert with dazzling costumes, brilliant vocals and a rockin’ band. As a cast, it really is an ensemble piece with everyone having equal stage time and recognising understudies as part of the extended band. Playing nine shows a week, at any given performance you may see any cast member as they really mix it up – but they are all equally fierce.
My queens for the evening were Jarnéia Richard-Noel (Catherine of Aragon), Alexia McIntosh (Anna of Cleves), Danielle Steers (Catherine Parr), Zara MacIntosh (Katherine Howard), Collette Guitart (Anne Boylen), Hana Stewart (Jane Seymour).
Also in the cast (but not performing the night I went) are Natalie Paris (Jane Seymour), Sophie Isaacs (Katherine Howard), Courtney Bowman (Anne Boleyn) and Cherelle Jay (Alternate Anne Boleyn & Anna of Cleves).
Whilst I originally found it strange that all six of the original cast were nominated for the 2019 Olivier Award for ‘Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical’, once you see the show for yourself, it is clear that they come as a set and you really can’t single any of them out.
The songs are infectious. From the opening numbers ‘Ex Wives’ and ‘No Way’, the audience knows within seconds of the music starting that they are in for a fun, loud and girl power show. From the tender ‘Heart Of Stone’, beautifully sung by Hana Stewart to the techo-rave group number ‘Haus of Holbein’, every song is a banger!
What will happen to Six the Musical in the West End after 29 August when it is due to close at the Lyric Theatre to make way for the scheduled ‘Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical‘ is not yet known. It won’t be returning to its previous home at the Arts Theatre but I doubt it will be leaving the London stage any time soon.
If you’ve still not seen SIX then you are seriously missing out on one of the best musicals to come out of the UK in a very long time.
Reviewed by West End Wilma