SIX (from London, England)

by Lynn on September 8, 2019

in The Passionate Playgoer

At the Arts Theatre, London, England

Written, composed and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss

Directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage

Choreographer, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille

Set by Emma Bailey

Costumes by Gabriella Slade

Sound by Paul Gatehouse

Lighting by Tim Deiling

Cast: Aimie Atkinson

Alexia McIntosh

Millie O’Connell

Natalie Paris

Maiya Quansah-Breed

Jameia Richard-Noel


Musicians: Katy Richardson

Alice Angliss

Amy Shaw

Terri De Marco

A whip-smart, creative, wily, joyous pop-rock-concert  musical about the six wives of Henry VIII (yes you read that right).

As the programme says: “A little bit of her-story:”

One: Catherine of Aragon

“My name is Catherine of Aragon

Was married 24 years. I’m a paragon

Of royalty, my loyalty is to the Vatican

So if you try to dump me you won’t try that again…”

Two: Anne Boleyn

“I’m that Boleyn girl, and I’m up next

See, I broke England from the Church, yeah I’m that sexy

Why did I lose my head?

Well my sleeves may be green, but my lipstick’s red…”


Three: Jane Seymour

“Jane Seymour, the only one he truly loved

When my son was newly born

I died, but I’m not what I seem

Or am I? Stick around, and you’ll suddenly see more…”

Four: Anna of Cleves

“Ich bin Anna of Cleves, Ja

When he saw my portrait, he was like “Ja!”

But I didn’t look as good as I did in my pic

Funny how we all discuss that, but never Henry’s little pr…”


Five: Katherine Howard

“Prick up our ears, I’m the Katherine who lost her head

For my promiscuity outside of wed-

Lock up your husbands, lock up your sons

K-Howard is here, and the fun’s begun….”

Six: Catherine Parr

“Five down, I’m the final wife

I saw him to the end of his life

I’m the survivor—Catherine Parr

And I bet you wanna know how I got this far.”

The pace is relentless. The dancing is disco driven. The costumes for the women are some form of formfitting bustier or skinny pants or short skirts. Catherine of Aragon has spiky things in her hair. There are 10 songs in this 75-minute show and each queen has her moment to shine and make us laugh and tell her truth. Katherine Howard for example notes that she is the queen that is always forgotten because nothing much happened. But the music and songs by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss are dandy. They establish who these women were in their own individual way.

The premise is to pick the queen who suffered the most: is it Catherine of Aragon because she was married to the guy for 24 years but he threw her over for Anne Boleyn.  Do you win points if you die in childbirth; or you don’t look as good as your painting; or you have your head chopped off; or are humiliated in divorce.

In the end that point is dropped. They are women taken on their own terms and not in the context of who they all married. And, no Henry doesn’t make an entrance. I have a feeling it would not go too well for him.

With only 75 minutes it’s hard for each woman  to actually make an impression and be distinctive after the fact. But during the show each establishes their individuality. Each singer/actress/dancer is terrific. They are all on stage for the whole show. The energy is breathless and even the band is made up of talented women.

The audience seemed to be in their 20s. I think I was the oldest person there. No matter. I loved this show—a friend said I would hate it. A challenge I could not refuse.

The creators wanted to show the individuality of these women without the context of who they were married to. They wanted to show the parallels between these six women and women of today, 500 years later. They wanted to illuminate women’s stories and how hard it is to tell them, then and now. And they wanted to have fun. And they all succeeded.

The show will play Chicago, Broadway, Australia.  No you don’t need to be a history buff. This show will take care of that. And I bet you will then go  out and learn more about these six women. Me? I bought the CD.

Kenny Wax, Global Musicals and George Stiles present:

Began: Dec. 17, 2017.

Playing to: Jan 2020 and probably longer.

Running Time: 75 minutes.

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