Reviewed by Nikki Cotter
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
In just two short years SIX the musical has gone from launching at a 100 seater venue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to preparing to open on Broadway at the 1000 seater Brooks Atkinson Theatre next February. To say the show has been a success is a mega understatement; rarely does a new musical capture the imaginations of the public in quite the way SIX has. With loyal fans eagerly joining the Queendom and social media awash with cosplay costumes and videos of the show’s final number (the megaSix) a second UK tour was inevitable and lucky for us SIX chose to return to The Lowry for a festive six week run.
The premise although seemingly simple is brilliantly innovative. The Queens until now have been confined to the history books, summoned occasionally when children recite the old ‘Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived’ rhyme; deciding enough is enough the Queens finally find their voices each taking their turn in a lyrical battle in a bid to prove once and for all who really did have the toughest ride at the hands of their infamous husband Henry VIII.
Part pop concert, part staged musical SIX is a fierce and fabulous retelling of history, remixed and reimagined for a whole new generation. Every song is outstanding in its originality and pure genius. Each Queen is offered the opportunity to walk away with the crown allowing every cast member to breathe life, heart, soul and some serious sass into their namesakes. Individually they are uniquely brilliant together they create the ultimate girl band; guiding us through a sisterly retelling of their forgotten stories while poking fun and posturing for the top spot along the way.
Lauren Drew commands the stage as Catherine of Aragon, statuesque and strong she switches from stone cold serious to super fun with a skilful ease. Maddison Bulleyment has perfect comedy timing as Anne Boleyn even managing to make getting behead get plenty of laughs while Lauren Byrne’s soaring vocals are a real goosebump inducing moment.
Shekinah McFarlane is a joy as Anna of Cleves with bags of sass and the richest of voices while Jodie Steele captures perfectly the lost innocence of Katherine Howard in her heartbreakingly brilliant version of All You Wanna Do.
At tonight’s performance alternate Harriet Watson takes on the role of Catherine Parr, her crystal clear vocals and genuine warmth more than doing justice to Marlow & Moss’s lyrics.
The diversity of the cast is enormously refreshing to see, while each individual delivers a fully realised, complex character. The wide range of pop influences ranging from Beyoncé to Britney will ensure the melodies stay with you for days while the lyrics give make these historical women much more than ‘just wives’ giving them heaps of personality and depth.
Gabriella Slade’s edgy costume design has a fun, modern feel while Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s choreography cements the strong girl power vibe.
SIX hits every mark as a perfect piece of theatre, innovative, uplifting, funny & immensely empowering. If this is what herstory looks like then sign me up now for the school of Marlow and Moss!
You can catch SIX The Musical at The Lowry until Saturday 11th Jan with the extra week added due to phenomenal demanding having the best availability tickets can be found here.