Re-contextualising history for a modern crowd is all the rage these days, but no musical extravaganza does it better than the Tony award-winning phenomena of 'SIX'.
Originally written and directed by twenty-somethings Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss for the Edinburgh Fringe back in 2017, SIX has taken the world by storm, hitting the West End, Broadway and making it big with TikTok trends of a number of its songs. A simplified story of empowerment and acceptance, SIX does away with the trappings of history to convey the stories of six women who are so much more than just the wives of Henry VIII.
The Comedy Theatre is transformed into a pop concert arena with a glittering stage emblazoned with dazzling stage lights. On stage drummer, guitarist, keyboardist and bass-player stand with attitude on the raised staircase that leads up to the back of the stage.
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What ensues when the curtains rise is a resplendent rollercoaster of pop perfection. The six queens command the stage from their first triumphant steps, sending the crowd into a lauded frenzy that could match any pop concert. Adorned in flashy skirts, tops and pants that seem like they were sent from a cyber-punk version of 16th century England, each individual performer dazzles with the tightness of their vocal and dance performances. Each song that each queen sings is both insanely catchy and perfectly matching their personalities, conveying each queen as loveable and flawed.
The job of SIX is to retell the well-known stories of the numerous wives that the temperamental, at-times blood-thirsty King had over his reign: but that’s not all. Framed as a competition over who’s life was the most unfortunate to live, the show takes on a battle-of-the-bands scenario where each Queen tries to outdo the other to darkly comical effect. The idea that Anne Boleyn (Kala Gare) was the most unfortunate, as she was one of the sadly beheaded, is called into question, as Jane Seymour’s (Loren Hunter) untimely death could be seen as the most tragic too.
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The musical does a fantastic job of making the audience root for a certain queen, ever keen to see who the victor may be when this was never the point at all. Debunking the notion of women being put into competition against each other, all because of their connection to a man, SIX reframes a centuries-old question into a triumphant reclaiming of their own stories: showing that famous women from history can be so much more than just their relationships.
SIX is the definition of a tight and concise musical experience, endeavouring to supply the audience with the right amount of power ballads and unforgettable dance tunes. Triumphing in everything that it does, SIX is a musical for our times from a time well past.
Book tickets to see SIX – The Musical here.