Hello and welcome to the tenth day of Blogmas! For today’s instalment, I thought I would write up a little review of the show Six! which I saw a week ago.
As you’ll know from my post about ‘Kicking off Christmas in Milton Keynes,’ I recently spent a theatre filled weekend with some of my besties. I’ve been wanting to see Six! since it blew up on the theatre scene and have been obsessed with the soundtrack for the longest time. When it was announced that there would be a UK tour, I jumped at the chance to finally see it!
We went to the Milton Keynes tour date on Friday 28th November at the Milton Keynes Theatre. Our seats were in the centre of the circle and for the price, they were a fantastic view. The first thing I will say is that it felt very weird to arrive for a performance which starts at 8pm! For those of you who may not know, Six! is a one act show that lasts just 75 minutes. However, I thought that the timing of the show was perfect – you wouldn’t want it to be dragged out into two acts and the plot of the show caters to the way it is structured.
Aside from the soundtrack, I didn’t really know much about the show. I wasn’t sure what the plot was other than it was about the stories of King Henry VIII’s wives from their perspective. If you don’t want spoilers about the show then please stop reading here! I thought the way they created the plot was just genius. At the beginning the Queens sang a group number ‘Ex Wives’ about who they are and their situation. They then argued about which of them had a worse time with Henry and decided to sing a song about their experience each and the audience could decide who wins.
From here they each sang their numbers with breaks in between with brief dialogue which was hilarious – particularly Anne Boleyn who managed to bring every line of conversation back to the fact that she lost her head! When it comes to the final Queen’s song, Catherine Parr asks the Queen’s why they are competing over who had it worse when they should united. The plot then shifts to them recognising that when they fight them become lost as 1/6 wives but in reality, King Henry VIII wouldn’t be half as famous without them. It was such a strong, feminist message that came across in the right way. The content and direction was very funny and I loved finding out that apart from Toby Moss who co-wrote the show, all those involved with the production are female.
Speaking of the writing, I thought it was so clever. I loved that it was factually accurate to what happened historically but used modern language and terms in the story telling. The lyrics to the songs were also genius and I loved how the intertwine significant historical words into them – “come on ladies lets get in reformation” – is just one example. If you haven’t already, I would urge you to listen to the soundtrack as every song is so, so catchy and well written. Each song has its own modern pop style ranging from “Don’t Lose Your Head” which sounds like Lilly Allen to “I Don’t Need Your Love” which gave me Alicia Keys vibes.
I loved the use of staging and lighting too. The choice to have the band on stage at the back with the Queen’s really gave you the feeling of being at a concert. The use of lighting boards along the back was so clever and particular lighting highlights included the creation of a throne and tinder boxes that were ‘swiped’ during the Haus of Holbein scene. If you have listened to the soundtrack, you’ll maybe have shared my confusion about Haus of Holbein but when you see it live it makes so much more sense! We all absolutely loved it and were singing it over and over again for the rest of the weekend.
Finally, the performances from the Queen’s were absolutely phenomenal. I had heard a few live version from pervious casts that were a bit dodge so was a bit apprehensive about the singing etc. However, each and every one of them blew me away. I can honestly say they delivered some of the best vocal performances I had ever seen. Catherine of Aragon’s riffs were absolutely insane, Catherine Parr’s tone was sublime and the power from Jane Seymour was overwhelming! There were definitely no weak links.
I have to say that Six! is now up there with my favourite shows and I would definitely recommend a visit to theatre to watch this fantastic show.