SIX The Musical

Last night I was invited into the Queendom of SIX The Musical at the Vaudeville Theatre, London for their Gala Night. Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, this punch-packing spectacle hit us right in the feels.

The idea of SIX was conjured up in the back of a poetry class and it has turned into an award-winning hit show. It is an extraordinary concept where girl band meets musical and last night’s standing ovation proved that the audience are totally on board with the Tudor-inspired tunes! 

Believe it or not, this blazing musical was written in just three days by the talented collaborators and, shortly after, rehearsals started in a hotel conference room at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with half a dozen students. It’s inspiring to see how much it has grown into the show it is today, but what’s really impressive is the following SIX has amassed since its inception.  

Whilst missing a storyline, this unique gig-style musical is far from lacking, in regard to a journey. It is comprised of super-catchy songs, each explaining the trials, tribulations and tragic life stories of the Henry VIII’s six wives. The refreshing twist is that the tales are told from the mouths of the wives themselves - instead from the view of Henry or historians. 

Based on the facts we all were told in history class, this semi-educational show is extremely entertaining, albeit embellished for dramatic (and rhyming) purposes. Even though it has a fabulously fabricated ending, due to the engaging, high-energy performances provided, it’s easy to look beyond this as we tap our feet and watch the six vocal powerhouses do their thing.

Appearing from the fog in the opening number, we were introduced to the brand new cast emerging in eccentric, sparkling costumes. Determined to dazzle us with Tudor inspired rock-chick outfits, costume designer Gabriella Slade has created six iconic looks, each matching the personalities of their corresponding queen.  Even the band were rocking PVC trousers!

The set consisted of mainly a full rig of lights which illuminated throughout the show behind the all-female band that featured on stage for the entirety of the performance. With the emphasis on the spot-lighting and crisp sound, the likeness to a rock concert was accentuated further by the fact the cast used handheld wireless microphones (which they whipped out before singing - spring awakening style).

This display of divas was directed by writer Lucy Moss with resident director and choreographer Lindsay McAllister. Interestingly, the script highlights the similarities between problems faced by women in the 16th Century and those in the current times.

It was hard to find fault in the show last night however, if I had to change something it would be the bordering-on-tacky neon glasses featured in Haus of Holbein. I enjoyed the glowing cartwheel ruffs that adorned the neck of the ladies, however using an accessory similar to what you can buy on a street in Benidorm didn’t enthral me. Instead, I would have preferred their outfits to have been trimmed with neon to replace the eyewear and keep it classy.

I found it particularly impressive that the new cast showed a remarkable level of professionalism with incredible vocal control and surprisingly no signs of nerves at all. The crowd appreciated the flawless riffs, empowered sass, and slick choreography delivered in every number.  Each queen possessed a different star quality which made the 90 minute show fly by. 

Whilst Catherine of Aragon (Nikki Bentley) brought a strong, diva-ish charm, Anne Boleyn (Thao Therese Nguyen) played a very youthful, goofy energy. Jane Seymour (Kayleigh McKnight) served a calming demeanour with angelic top notes, whilst Anna of Cleves (Reca Oakley) dished up a laidback, self assurance. This made an amusing contrast to the next queen Katherine Howard (Inez Budd) who served sexy, sarcastic sass with tons of attitude. To conclude, Catherine Parr (Janiq Charles) served us a silky, soulful timbre and the whole show was wrapped up with a mighty mega mix where the stage royalty encourage the entire audience to dance along.

I would not have guessed there had been a recent cast change and thus I predict a promising season for the new queens. Artfully, SIX successfully showcases an abundance of talented women, both on and off-stage in a truly empowering, feel-good show.

BE quick if you want to GET DOWN to see these ex-wives rock out. Don’t have a heart of stone, there’s NO WAY you want to miss it or you’re certain to LOSE YOUR HEAD.

This show was reviewed on the 23rd January 2024.  SIX The Musical runs at the Vaudeville Theatre, London and is currently booking until the 3rd November 2024.  Tickets available here: London • Home | Six the Musical

Review written by Lauren Atkinson

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