Friday, 7 September 2018

REVIEW: Six at the Arts Theatre

I was a little apprehensive coming to see this show, I’m not sure why. Part of me thinks this may be because it’s a fresh, new idea and as theatre going audiences we have seen so many of these be full of flaws and not properly executed. Excuse the pun. However this show proved me wrong. 

The show tells the story of all Six of Henry VIII ex-wives, each having their chance to tell their story and compete to be the leading lady of the show. At its heart it shows us there is more to the story than the rhyme we all learnt in school and with the backdrop of the #MeToo campaign going on its so great to see this show fronted by Six empowered women with a full female band. 

Making a girl band out of some of the most famous Ex-Wives in history is an odd idea and may seem bizarre but it’s ideas like this that make the best and most successful shows. I mean who would have thought a musical about Cats would succeed? 

The directors Lucy Moss (also creator of the show) and Jamie Armitage along with Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s choreography pull off a hot and slick show. The bad ass and rock concert staging with fully formed characters puts this show on a different scale than what we’ve seen in London in a long time. 

The show has been written by Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow and everything just fits together perfectly like a puzzle. The songs are hits, the writing is witty and the storytelling is both fascinating and clear. 

Each and every one of the girls were phenomenal. Each had their own personality and individually blew the roof off the Arts Theatre; as strong as they are on their own, together, they are one force of nature. 

Jarneia Richard-Noel had a fierceness and commanding presence as Catherine of Aragon and set the bar high as the first wife to share her story, Millie O’Connell as the cheeky and sassy Anne Boleyn gave us comedy and golden vocals, Natalie Paris had a truthful and compassionate interpretation of Jane Seymour with a voice that I could listen to for days, Alexia McIntosh was powerful both physically and vocally as Anna of Cleves and finished her number in a true Diva fashion, Aimie Atkinson gave a youthful and naughty performance as Katherine Howard with a voice you won’t forget and last but not least Maiya Quansah-Breed as Catherine Parr, being the voice of reason amongst the girls she was balanced but had a presence you couldn’t take your eyes off and polished that off with outstanding vocals. 

All have such unique and difference voices that are all stunning in their own way
and melted together to gave us the best girl band the world has ever seen. 

The band, directed by Katy Richardson, are fierce. That’s the only word I can think of! As essential to the show as each and every single wife and are truly what makes this show what it is. 

As a production, this is one of the most put together shows I’ve seen in a long time. 

This production has taken history, spun it on its head, challenged it and smashed it into pieces. Hamilton may be in trouble, theres new girls on the block and they've come to steal your fans. The music will be stuck in your head for days and this has to be one of the hottest shows of 2018. Get your tickets now, however I suspect we’ll see the return of this show to London very soon.

Review by Mark Swale

Rating: ★★★★★

Seat: C17, Stalls | Price of Ticket: £36.50
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