Goodbye to the Reign of the Original Queens!
Hello to the Succession!
“Welcome to the show, to the historemix
Switching up the flow as we add the prefix
Everybody knows that we used to be six wives
Raising up the roof ’til we hit the ceiling
Get ready for the truth that we’ll be revealing
Everybody knows that we used to be six wives
SIX the Musical settles into its permanent home at the Vaudeville Theatre in the Strand and for the first few weeks, three of the original cast have been in the show. We were saying goodbye to them as a new cast will take over in a few weeks. This is the fourth time I have seen this wonderful show but the other three times were at the Arts Theatre, where the story of the Queens really took off.
We saw the hit that this British musical was when West End Live featured it back in 2018. New member of the troupe, Millie O’Connell had only just joined the cast as Anne Boleyn and was still learning the dance moves! She has always been one of my favourite queens with her cheeky text messages to the king. Incidentally in historical terms, few people could see what Anne Boleyn’s attraction was for Henry VIII as she wasn’t really good looking or pretty but they all agreed that she had an exceptionally long neck. I do wish that only long necked girls played Anne rather than the recent additions, who are very Essex but with less charm than Millie, and when they claim to be fitter than Catherine of Aragon (the lovely Jarneia Richard-Noel), I cannot agree but hey it was Henry VIII’s perception!
It’s goodbye too to Jarneia’s Catherine whose lyric rhyming “Vatican” with “You won’t try it again”, is a classic of wit and stylish historical reference.
“My name’s Catherine of Aragon.
Was married 24 years, I’m a paragon
Of royalty, my loyalty is to the Vatican
So if you try to dump me you won’t try that again!
Natalie Paris’s Jane Seymour’s rendition of the lovely ballad “Heart of Stone” was musically a real highlight. At least we have her recording to still play. The night I saw Six at the Vaudeville, the queen who died in childbirth was played by Dance Captain and Super Swing Collette Guitart which makes a nonsense of Anne’s comment that “Jane can’t dance!”
Alexia McIntosh fascinates as ever as the queen rejected for “her profile picture” . I know she came from present day Germany but she was always described as the Flemish mare, from Flanders. Germany didn’t exist before 1806. But we always enjoy Anna’s sexy portrayal of the 1930s Weimar nightclub scene in 16th century Europe in “Get Down” with its ultra violet lighting and costumes.
K Howard (Sophie Isaacs) was the most abused girl (too young to be called a woman), married to this really old and probably impotent man but unlike her wrongly accused first cousin Anne Boleyn, she probably was guilty of adultery which when you are married to a king is legally interpreted as treason.
Catherine Parr (Alternate Hana Stewart) may have been given a more vibrant makeover and her song “I Don’t Need Your Love” seems to have more strength than I remember and is very popular with the audience.
The whole show has new lighting and exciting visuals and the choreography has been reworked. I loved the show the early cast put on outdoors at the Tower of London with very young girls in the audience, often dressed up in queenly costumes, adoring these pop princesses. The evening theatre audience is considerably older, late teens and twenties, and much noisier as screaming has become the norm, some, as the woman behind me at full scream throughout the musical numbers. The front of house manager said that they had a particularly noisy group in whom they had asked to quieten down but of course the staff couldn’t reach the middle of the row. Just saying!
My other quibble is some of the accents of the queens are down market but maybe that is a decision so the audience doesn’t label them as posh.
These issues aside, Six the Musical is a phenomenon of pop music, magnificent lyrics and style which I suspect will grace the Strand for some years to come.
Six: The Musical
Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
Directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage
Director: Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage
Choreographer: Carrie-Anne Ingrouille
Designer: Emma Bailey
Costume Designer: Gabriella Slade
Musical Supervisor: Joe Beighton
Lighting Designer: Tim Deiling
Sound Designer: Paul Gatehouse
Orchestrations: Tom Curran
Running Time One hour 20 minutes without an interval
Booking at the Vaudeville to 20th April 2023
404 The Strand
London WC2R 0NH
Tube/Rail : Charing Cross
Telephone: 0330 333 4814
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge at the
Vaudeville Theatre at a performance
on 9th November 2021