This production would normally have taken place at the spiritual home of NK Theatre Arts at the Romiley Forum, but due to circumstances beyond anybody’s control, this venue became unavailable at very short notice, so it was moved to the George Lawton Hall in Mossley, which was the only place that could accommodate this production at relatively short notice. Within the space of two weeks the stage and production including the technical side was moved over 10 miles to the new venue, so it can only be imagined the difficulties that entailed – and this was before the show even started! Rehearsals were taking place at different venues, and it is amazing that the production went ahead at all!
But go ahead it did, thank goodness. Speaking to the director, Paul Wilson, he informed me that they had auditioned over 60 potential actresses to take on the role of one of the “Queens” and they found it impossible to cut this down to just six, so they ended up using 2 separate casts; one made up of early to mid-teens and the other made up of late teens. I’m pleased to say that I managed to see both young and older casts of the show, so I guess this review should be called “Twelve” rather than “Six”! Special mention at this stage should go to people who are often the unsung heroes of these shows, namely stage manager Leanne ably assisted by Kirsty who did a great job getting everybody into their correct seats, which was by no means a trivial task.
The plot of the storyline involves each of the Queens holding a singing competition between themselves to determine which was the “best” with each member of the entourage trying to out-do the others. There was a lot of Spice Girls type of singing and dancing making full use of the stage during the show.
The individual showcase for each cast member brought out the different characteristics of the different “Queens”; the Anne Boleyn character had the best comedy lines, the Jane Seymour character was full of understated pathos. All the girls were tremendous singers and dancers. I particularly liked Tilly Smith’s vocals during her Catherine Parr routine, and both Anne Boleyns, Melia Finnegan and Mia Hancox, brought a beautiful light touch to the comedy element of the role.
The biggest cheer over the 2 nights however went to Olivia Barton (now affectionately going by Liv) whose dancing, singing and acting has developed so much since I last saw her on a stage about 4 years ago singing “For the first time in forever” as part of a “Frozen” showcase. She has developed into an extremely talented young lady who can not only command a stage but knows how to work an audience too. Definitely a star in the making.
Credit must also go to the “Ladies in waiting” led by Ceri Graves, the young female band members who were on stage throughout the performance. And of course, the brilliant choreography put together by the amazing Amy Walker. It’s difficult to leave mention of any individual out because they were all wonderful and deserve full credit for their efforts.
The show has now finished its short run, and each performance was sold out, which is a credit to all the cast and production team. Overall, both teams of “Six” did a wonderful job and the younger cast were by no means outshone by their older colleagues. A very nice touch on the final evening was getting both sets of “Queens” together for a wonderful finale which they all took part in together. This was undoubtedly one of the best youth productions I have seen in a long time but was no more than we have come to expect from the production team at NK Theatre Arts. I cannot give both productions anything but five stars.
Reviewer: David S Clarke
Reviewed: 30th September 2023
North West End UK Rating: