Divorced. Beheaded. Live in concert.
If you tell me (a bit of a history fanatic) that there’s a new all-female musical about the Tudors, I’ll be there faster than Anne of Cleves can get a divorce. This ‘talk of the Fringe’ hit, Six, was booked for my first day in Scotland and I was far from disappointed with a killer set of songs just made for the Little Mix generation of historians!
From Tudor Queens to pop princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII finally take to the mic to tell their empowering tale, remixing 500 years of her-storical heartbreak into a 75-minute celebration of sisterly sass-itude.
Girl power has grown up, by going back in time? Writing duo Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss are on to a musical winner here with the most memorable new score I have heard in a long time. You are dealt hit after hit as each of the wives state their case for being the leader of band, telling their story through pop rock, with a bit of German techno funk thrown in for good measure.
Here is a show that celebrates Queens in all their glory with a powerful girl band set up. I cannot describe how refreshing it is to see six women up there performing just oozing confidence and owning the stage in every sense. As a group they command, but individually they shine too. Jarneia Richard-Noel’s (Catherine of Aragon) No Way and Alexia McIntosh’s (Anna of Cleves) Get Down give hilarious insights into the Queen’s true feelings about divorce but just when you think you have the show sussed Natalie Paris cracks out a ballad, My Heart of Stone, with sincerity and stunning vocals. A note must go out to Grace Mouat, who understudies all of the Queens and was on for Anne Boleyn on our night giving a quite frankly superb rendition of Sorry Not Sorry which was one of my favourite numbers in the show.
Sadly the show lets itself down just a little bit. Billed as a powerful, feminist new musical it does disappoint to see the Queens spend much of the time seemingly putting each other down for cheap laughs. Although they come together in the end it was awkward to watch some below the belt insults being thrown about between songs when I’m sure supporting each other throughout would set a better example and boost what the musical sets out to do – unite the wives as sisters.
Despite this, you can’t deny that the show is catchy, witty, full of sass and easily the new historical musical hit on the block, performed by six powerhouse women. What more could you ask for with an Edinburgh Fringe show?
Six is at the Underbelly, George Square – Udderbelly as part of the Edinburgh Fringe until 27 August. The show is sold out but check for returns daily online and in person.
Missed it at the Fringe? The show is going on tour, landing next at the Arts Theatre, London with tickets on sale now.
Photo credit: Idil Sukan