Words: Simon Button
Believe the hype and word of mouth. This musical/concert about and starring the six wives of Henry VIII is every bit as brilliant as you’ve been lead to believe.
I’m late to the Six party. It premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, hit the West End later that year, toured the UK in the summer of 2018, then returned to the West End.
But even being so unfashionably late to a party that’s already a cult, with clearly many a repeat visitor in the audience, is to discover a work of genius - said genius being the idea to tell the story of Henry’s wives (“Divorced. Beheaded. Live!”) through a female gaze, with an all-girl band and not a single bloke, Henry or otherwise, anywhere to be seen on stage.
It’s like Little Mix rounded out with a couple of Spice Girls sassing their way through catchy-as-hell songs with OMG-brilliant lyrics, LOL references and red-hot dance moves, vying to be the most deserving of the audience’s love before deciding that sisterhood trumps everything else.
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, who also co-created the very funny Hot Gay Time Machine as recently seen at Trafalgar Studios, have written something quite extraordinary which needs an extraordinary cast to carry it and absolutely gets one here.
To single out a single performer would be wrong, especially because the night I saw it there were a couple of understudies in the line-up.
Plus, the real magic of the show isn’t in any scene-stealing turn, it’s the girl-power bond they forge as bitchy banter gives way to sod-men solidarity, with one brilliant song after another and some seriously fierce dance moves.
Sisters doing it for themselves has never been so much fun.
'Six' is at The Arts Theatre, London, until 5 January 2020. For great deals on tickets and shows click here.