Tuesday, May 28

Six – Sheffield Lyceum

So, I polished my crown and headed (minus the be-) off to the beautiful Sheffield Lyceum, my husband reluctantly in tow to witness the royally resplendent Six. Before I even got in the building I was praising the show for its allure to so many young theatre goers, the diversity of the audience was a real heart warmer. Six has become a cultural phenomenon and is a British musical comedy with book, music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Presented as a pop concert, the competitive wives of Henry VIII each tell their stories and vie to be ‘the one who suffered the most’ to enable the victor to become the group’s lead singer.  Under the direction of Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage the stylish Six took to the stage. With a set mainly given over to lighting and upstage steps, which housed the onstage all-female band, the stage resembled a Pop concert and the Six leading ladies donned it regally. Costume design by Gabriella Slade is in a word…stunning! an eclectic mix between court finery and present day diva.

In the opening number the wives introduce themselves and their eventual fates (the bit we do remember from History lessons!) Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded Survived. Each wife chronologically retells her story, as the victim of Henry VIII, in a different music artistes’ style – each one a Queen and performer to be reckoned with!

First up is Catherine of Aragon (Beyonce/Shakira) played by Chloe Hart who sings No way, a real power vocal with a great top ‘C’! Don’t Lose your Head sung by Jennifer Caldwell as Anne Boleyn (Avril Lavigne/Lily Allen) is a real catchy, sassy number. Heart of Stone is the only ballad in the show, the one song that should be just a voice and centre stage and it was, sung by Jane Seymour (Adele/Sia), ‘the only one he ever loved’ played by Casey Al-Shaqsy. The Hip- Hop entry from Grace Melville as the fourth wife, German born Anna of Cleves (Nicki Minaj/Rihanna), packs an electronic punch as fluorescent light add a moment of craziness to the Kraftwerk inspired House of Holbein. Contestant and penultimate spouse Jaina Brock-Patel’s salacious Katherine Howard (Arianna Grande/Britney Spears) paints a vivid picture in All You Wanna Do with a sting in its tail.

It is said in a competition you remember the first and the last competitors, if I was to choose, I would say this saying rings true. The Bluesy, I Don’t Need Your Love was a real showstopper by Alana Robinson as Catherine Parr (Emeli Sande/Alicia keys), the wife that survived Henry.

The choreography in the show was a skilful mergence between the modern and the Tudor Court, with tokenistic Greensleeves in there for good measure – Brilliant! The comedic dialogue is effective in its scarcity and modern day references to Tinder etc keep the show relevant and current. 

Were these Six the real reason we can recall King Henry VIII over any other Monarch or were the Six remembered just because they were HIS wives? Chicken and Egg comes to mind, but the show does pose this interesting conundrum. What a historically correct masterclass in Education, if all history lessons were like this, I am sure school would be a much more exciting place to learn.  

You really do have to go see this modern, fierce show (my initially reluctant husband, ‘was mesmerised’) It is girl power in pomp overdrive, a joyous celebration of Sisterhood! The crowds at Sheffield were on their feet as the Queens Royally rocked Sheffield in a sexy, sassy and stylish Pageant.

Six continues until Saturday in Sheffield before continuing its national tour, https://www.sixthemusical.com/uk-tour/tickets

Reviewer: Tracey Bell

Reviewed: 20th April 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★