Being obsessed with all things Tudor and having recently been involved with a couple of productions involving Henry VIII’s wives, I have been desperate to see Six for what feels like an eternity. So when I finally took my seat at Kingston’s Rose Theatre, some might say I was just a tad excited.
I am pleased to inform you it did not disappoint, in fact it went above and beyond my expectations…. Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived. We all know their stories, as Catherine of Aragon states at the beginning “Remember us from your GCSEs?” but what takes place over the next 75 minutes is a reimagining like no other.
In an arena like setting with bright fluorescent lighting, colourful punk costumes and waves of smoke, six fierce queens take to the stage and compete with one another for their chance in the spotlight. Aragon, Boleyn, Seymor, Cleves, Howard and Parr are fed up of being defined by their husband and are looking to claim their rightful place in ‘her-story’.
There’s singing, there’s dancing, there’s comedy, there’s sass…. And there’s a hell of a lot of history. If history classes in school were taught with all the style, extravagance and pure entertainment in which Six is performed, then there’d be A*s across the board. The performances from all six women are strong, each bringing an individually unique energy to the stage, channeling the likes of Beyoncé (Aragon), Lily Allen (Boleyn), Adele (Seymour), Rihanna (Cleves), Ariana Grande (Howard) and Alicia Keys (Parr) in their song styles. Millie O’Connell’s Boleyn was vivacious and utterly compelling with facial expressions that had a life of their own. Natalie Paris’ Seymour had a voice to die for (pardon the pun) and Maiya Quansah-Breed’s Parr was a formidable force, she made Parr so much more than just ‘the one that survived’.
Aimee Atkinson (Howard) was vibrant, bubbly and full of teenage angst, Jarneia Richard-Noel (Aragon) played the devoted wife (with attitude) brilliantly and Alexia McIntosh (Cleves) owned the stage with some of the best one-liners on offer. You got a clear sense of character through all of them not only individually but also as a collective, they were exceptional.
This is quite possibly one of the most joyous and inspiring pieces of musical theatre I have had the pleasure of watching and the fact that it comes from the brains of two 23-year-olds, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, who only graduated from Cambridge University last year, is the icing on the cake. Their writing is superb. The overall production is so fresh, so new, so exciting… so fabulous. My one criticism is that it was over all too soon. Marks out of five? I’d have to give it a SIX!
Review by Josh Clarke