East AngliaMusicalReview

Six – Theatre Royal, Norwich

Reviewer: Lu Greer

Writer: Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow
Director: Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage
Choreographer: Carrie-Anne Ingrouille

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Reducing six women’s lives to a single word each would already be bad enough, but six queens? And not just any queens either: no, the queens of Henry VIII’s reign are not about to be forgotten under layers of frills and stories of an old fat man. As they grace the stage for another tour of Six they are here to tell their side of the story, and the audience best sit up and listen.

Six returns to Norwich, where it began its journey before going on to reign over the theatre world, bringing its unique brand of stage show and concert. The show introduces us to each of the queens as they argue and compete to decide who had the worst time of it married to that Tudor king, with each woman telling her story in a different style, giving the audience everything from big ballads to R&B raves. It’s not exactly a subtle plot device, but it doesn’t need to be; the point of these queens is not subtlety, that’s what the history books were for.

There is not a weak link in this all-female cast, with every queen becoming the crowd favourite the moment she takes centre stage. Laura Dawn Pyatt as Anne Boleyn seems born to play the role, with her comedic timing and occasional wink in the audience’s direction she creates a strong, cheeky, queen who gets what she wants. A particular mention must also be made of the other beheaded wife, Lou Henry as Katherine Howard. Her solo in All You Wanna Do is a fun song, full of suggestive glances but from the first moment she shrugs a hand off her arm she brings meaning and depth to her character in an entirely unexpected way.

The pop concert party atmosphere is enforced by the Ladies in Waiting, the onstage band who drive the beat of every song and bring the kind of energy a theatre only achieves with a live band. Tim Deiling’s lighting also add another layer to the fun, with their over-the-top colours and changes reflecting each of the wives perfectly.

After all, what do you remember Henry VIII for? His continental campaign? His religious reforms? Or could it be his extraordinary, strong, Six wives.

Runs Until: 24 Feb 2024

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Long Live the Queens

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The South East team is under the editorship of Nicole Craft. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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