Six: Arts Theatre, London
26th January 2019
Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow’s thrilling musical Six is back at the Arts Theatre and set to take over the world! Starting off as a university show written for the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, Six is a pop-concert style musical where each of Henry VIII’s wives finally get their chance to be heard. Unlike any other musical out there Six is full of sass, incredibly witty lyrics, catchy tunes and femininity. It is easy to see why it has gathered such a large following. After its debut at the Ed Fringe in 2017 it went on to have a short stint of just 5 performances at the Arts Theatre, London in December 2017. Instantly it sold out and new dates were added. Following on from this success 5 new Queens were cast and the show travelled around the UK on a short UK tour, including going back to its roots at the Edinburgh Fringe where it sold out on virtually every single night. After another extended run at the Arts Theatre in London, Six quickly received an extension and is now back in the West End and set to run at least until January 2020. Not only this but the show will be performed in Chicago this year too! It has gathered huge amount of fans, awareness and award nominations to boot over its short time. Some liken it to Hamilton and other such musicals which have rocketed since their birth but Six is in a class of its own, truly unique in the way it manages to tell a historical story in such an exciting, modern way.
Back in the West End at the Arts Theatre, London Six now has two new Queens who will act as alternates, relieving the pressure from original Swing for all the 6 Queens and dance captain Grace Mouat. With new lighting, staging and updated choreography the show just continues to get better! All of the Queens are outstanding: Jarneia Richard-Noel’s Catherine of Aragon exudes sass as she displays brilliant vocal skill and passion in her song ‘No Way‘. Millie O’Connell’s Anne Boleyn is absolutely hilarious! With facial expressions and sarcastic comments throughout the show she is sure to have the audience crying with laughter. Natalie Paris shows off gorgeous tone and power during her moving ballad ‘Heart of Stone‘ as Jane Seymour. Alexia McIntosh commands the stage and demands attention during her attitude driven song ‘Get Down‘ as Anna of Cleves, a firm favourite with many audience members. Aimie Atkinson manages to combine sex, sass and sensitivity to show Katharine Howard’s tragic tale and Maiya Quansah-Breed’s unique soulful tone is utilised brilliantly as ‘the Queen who survived’ Catherine Parr. Joining the cast this year are Vicki Manser as alternate Anne Boleyn and Anna of Cleves and Courtney Stapleton as Catherine of Aragon and Catherine Parr whilst Grace Mouat is now the alternate cover for Jane Seymour and Katherine Howard.
This latest production of Six also throws more of a spotlight on the incredible ‘ladies in waiting’: Musical Director Arlene McNaught, drummer Alice Angliss, guitarist Amy Shaw and bassist Terri De Marco. The all-female band each have their own sections within the show and now sport superb costumes designed by Gabriella Slade. Gabriella Slade’s costumes are elaborately detailed and with each Queen having their own stunning costume and crown there is no denying that these girls mean business from the moment they step onstage.
The 2019 production of Six features some new choroegraphy from Carrie-Anne Ingrouille as the high-energy dance moves demonstrate every inch of girl-power. Tim Deiling’s lighting also has undergone some improvements making the whole show even more vibrant and bright. Avid fans of Six will also note quite a lot of changes to the dialogue of the show, particularly with Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr. Personally, I missed some of the witty one-liners and dialogue from the previous version of Six and felt that the new dialogue didn’t particularly add to the show. However the new dialogue does not detract from the show at all and newcomers to Six will certainly leave the show knowing more about the true lives of Henry’s six wives.
Ultimately Six is a marvel. Exuberant, exciting and joyful! With enough sass to fill the auditorium, catchy tunes and superb lyrics which will be ringing in your ears for days to come. It is about girl-power and equality, telling the true lives of the Queens. But more importantly than that it is about having fun, enjoying yourself and being entertained. Six is an outstanding concept – mixing a pop concert with musical theatre and history. It may sound like an odd mix but it works so well that audiences cannot help but laugh out loud and find themselves grinning throughout the show. Do not miss your chance to ‘Get Down’ with the Queens, there is ‘No Way‘ you will want to miss this extravaganza.
Six is at the Arts Theatre, London until January 2020. For information and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Idil Sukan