SIX – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Reviewer: Beth Steer

Writer: Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss

Director: Lucy Moss & Jamie Armitage

At just over an hour running time, SIX is a wild, female-led ride through the tenets of British history: focused on the lesser known life stories of the six wives of the infamous King Henry VIII.

But don’t let that put you off.

In Moss & Armitage’s production, history becomes ‘her’ story – as the six wives each compete in a surreal, pop concert-style showdown for the prize of the wife who had the rawest deal while married to the monarch.

Whether divorced, beheaded, died or survived, each poppy songstress makes her case with sassy asides, laugh-out-loud lyrics, and unashamedly lewd references to the King’s… short-falls. It’s witty, intelligent, and more than a lot of fun.

With enviable vocal performances (Chloe Hart as Catherine of Aragon is a particular stand out), energy-filled dance routines, and flawlessly delivered one-liners (Jennifer Caldwell as Ann Boleyn has the audience in stitches), it’s not hard to see why SIX has developed somewhat of a cult-following.

The crowd are on their feet at every opportunity, roaring with laughter and singing along to the empowering score. The staging is simple but spectacular, changing at every opportunity to reflect the mood, setting, and style of the number being performed at the time.

And, while there’s more than a little poking fun at the patriarchal systems of British history, there’s an important message in SIX, too.

First, the focus is encouraging us to look beyond the mainstream storyline and remember that there are lots of sides to the narratives we’re fed by our history books.

More than that, though, is the overarching, feel-good insistence that girl-power really is King. Reminiscent of Spice Girls era feminism, SIX shouts loudly about how together, women can conquer anything.

After all, what was Henry VIII remembered for? His reform policy, as they quip? Nope – his six wives.

As this west end tour continues to tour the UK, do everything you can to get a ticket.

Touring nationwide

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The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. 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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