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Cambridge Arts Theatre

Six
4.0Reviewer's Rating

The six wives of Henry VIII have formed a girl band, driven by the injustices served by their royal husbands. They take us through their marriages, divorces, deaths, beheadings and lucky escapes from the King, each time at conflict at who had suffered the most. The six of them decide that it isn’t on at all that they’re defined by their one shared husband and take matters into their own hands, triumphantly solidifying their status as remixing history to HERstory, choosing instead to tell the stories they actually want to be heard.

The show is staged as a pop concert, and Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s sharp and incredibly catchy songs pretty much nail this concept. The lyrics are hugely witty, with Anne Boleyn making jokes about how much her husband enjoyed her head (in a number of ways).

Six is littered with well-placed pop culture references. Beyoncé, Love Island and Spice Girls are all obvious allusions. The flashy, smoke filled stage uses these as a source of humour, whilst offering homage to the vastly successful form. The music itself feels like it’s straight off a Little Mix album: it’s contemporary and it’s pure pop.

The cast are very much an ensemble, all working together as backing dancers and singers on one another’s numbers. Millie O’Connell’s Anne Boleyn is sassy and unapologetic, bubbling with energy. Meanwhile Catherine Parr’s tale of unrequited love is told with a sharpness by Maiya Quansah-Breed. Each Queen has their own story and tells it in their own unique musical style. On occasion, this comes at odds with the concept: Jane Seymour’s power ballad about her lost son does somewhat kill the mood as it comes quite early in the show. Nonetheless, there are points of very poignant discussion about women suffering at the hands of men, particularly in their power and sexual relationships.

Tim Deiling’s vibrant lighting design and Gabriella Slade’s perceptive costuming (including a disco-house number with luminous green ruffs) combine to create bold and striking visuals. Six is really good fun – a late night treat for audiences in Edinburgh and, later, the West End.

  • Musical
  • By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
  • Directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage
  • Cast includes: Jarneia Richard-Noel, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Alexia McIntosh, Aimie Atkinson, Maiya Quansah-Breed
  • Cambridge Arts Theatre
  • Until 21st July 2018
  • Time: 19:45. Matinees: 14:30 Thursday and Saturday.

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