Six: The MusicalMay 5, 2019 • Reviews, Theatre
It’s no secret that I am obsessed with musicals, and the theatre in general. People assume that being in a relationship with a theatre technician means a whole lot of time spent at the theatre. The reality is that Katy is usually working during show times so we don’t get to go very many shows! So I was excited that we got to go to this one together.
Now, firstly, all of the credit for the hype behind this musical belongs to Shona Louise. She raves about the show non-stop, which is how it got on my radar. Near the beginning of April, during a dull afternoon at work, I decided to finally pop on the cast album. I really enjoyed it and, in particular, became a bit obsessed with the song “Don’t Lose Ur Head.”
It was near my birthday, so Katy said she would get me tickets as a gift. But we had a busy April, so she booked them for this weekend. We decided to go for a matinee since we live a bit farther from London now and didn’t want to deal with the hassle of last trains and whatnot.
If you’re unfamiliar, Six is the story of the six wives on Henry VIII told by the women themselves via pop songs, as they are in a girl group. I was a tad worried that it would come off as a bit young (there are a lot of jokes aimed at a younger age group), but the humour was pretty clever. There are lots of funny puns, throwaway lines and some dirty jokes.
From the first number, I was having an absolute blast. The show is very fun and colourful, for the most part. This contrasts spectacularly with the rather dark subject matter of six women who were largely abused by THE man in power of the time.
For me, the two songs that show that contrast are my personal favourites. These are Anne Boleyn’s (the aforementioned “Don’t Lose Ur Head”), and Katherine Howard’s “All You Wanna Do.” Of course these are the two “beheaded” queens, and their songs are both very upbeat pop tunes with rather tragic endings.
The show itself is very short at just over an hour with no interval, which is quite an interesting format, and potentially a bit of a game changer. Because of this, there aren’t any of the songs, often found in musicals, which end up having “filler” vibes. Every song is strong, and they cover quite a range of pop themes and subgenres.
Now, I love cheesy pop. I am a big fan of Little Mix even as a 31-year-old woman. So I was fairly predisposed to like the show. Katy, on the other hand, likes more alternative music. She also avoids the Internet like the plague, meaning some of the jokes weren’t relevant to her. But she still really enjoyed the show! Despite not loving pop music, she has been to quite a few shows, and she said this was the best pop music she’d ever seen performed. (Obviously, the actors are all trained in musical theatre so it’s a bit different I suppose.) She enjoyed it so much that she gave them a standing ovation. And, as I said, she’s a theatre tech, so she sees a lot of shows.
Now one thing that is a bit of a shame is that the show’s theme is all about the women telling their own stories and realising that they are more than just the wives of a king. The band is all women too, so there’s such a huge Girl Power vibe. But the show doesn’t quite pass the Bechdel Test since it still does mostly revolve around their shared husband. The show runners do acknowledge this in the programme, but it’s a bit ironic!
Last two things before I go… 1) It was nice to be able to support a smaller show on the West End (the theatre is tiny!) but I think our tickets still cost around £50 each! Theatre is so expensive and inaccessible, and that’s really sad. And 2) Six let you take photos during the encore at the very end, and frankly every show should do that so I can have photos for my blog posts!
Six has been extended to January 2020, and I highly recommend seeing it!