Six (Edinburgh Festival Theatre) | Review By Stacey Brown

Six follows the stories of the unfortunate six wives of Henry VIII, but it’s not how you quite remember it from history class. The ladies have taken control of the story and through the power of pop songs, they compete to determine which wife had it worse. After each of them have told their story, they realise there’s no point in comparing each other the way historians have done for years, but rather they should support each other in one last empowering song!

The six wives Catherine of Aragon (Chlöe Hart), Anne Boleyn (Jennifer Caldwell), Jane Seymour (Casey Al-Shaqsy), Anna of Cleves (Aeisha Naomi Pease), Katherine Howard (Jaina Brock-Patel), Catherine Pare (Alana M Robinson) are of course, fantastic! Six has become such a cultural phenomenon on social media, so it was expected that the cast would be phenomenal! The energy of the performance is electric and feels as if you’re actually at a pop concert. Each queen had their own personality and vibe, making them stand out individually as well as gelling as a group. A favourite of mine was Chlöe Hart’s solo number No Way. Chlöe has an incredible voice and she can really belt it out. Of course my other favourite was the finale song Six, where the queens come together, support and appreciate one another. The cast are so talented and vibrant!

Having a band on stage is such a delight. For Six these were the Ladies in Waiting. Once again, that pop star element is reinforced by having the band on stage. It adds to the belief that we are actually watching a concert performed by Henry VIII’s wives. The fact that the band and the cast are all women is really refreshing and empowering! The whole performance is about reimagining the stories of women in history and make it about them, and that’s translated to the cast and band. Six are giving these women an opportunity to showcase how phenomenal they are and show other girls what they can achieve!

SIX by Marlow ; Directed by Moss and Armitage ; Set designed by Bailey ; Costumes designed by Slade ; Lighting designed by Deiling ; at the Malvern Theatres ; UK tour ; 2021, Marlowe Theatre Credit: Johan Persson

The choreography was slick and fabulous. A mixture of Spanish salsa steps to rock-star stomping around the stage created a fun, fresh atmosphere. Numbers like Haus of Holbein were choreographed to perfection by Choreographer Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, with the cast cat-walking around the stage in glow in the dark sun-glasses, as if they were Lady Gaga at fashion week. Nothing is too intricate or complicated, it’s simple, effective pop-star moves. The fact that these ladies danced in those heels is crazy!

The set was very simple, but effective. Set designer Emma Bailey had a pretty empty stage with a small set of stairs up to the band, which with all the dancing these ladies are doing, makes sense practically. However together with light designer Tim Deiling, they create little gems! For example, the ladies stand at the wall in a sort of “tinder swipe” moment. The back wall lights up with a little LED profile box and then turns red for a big “no no”. This was a smart way to creat a concert look, but keep element of theatre. The way Tim Deiling lights up the stage is incredible. Again, that pop concert vibe is achieved through flashing, colourful lights- it hypes everyone up and there is this connective energy between audience and performer.

Six is explosive! It’s such an exciting experience, where a 2010s pop concert is mixed with history and it’s all been popped into a theatre. Six is so enjoyable and fun- it surpasses the acclaim it has and then some. It is a feel-good way to learn about history, feminism and some dance moves. Six runs at the Festival Theatre 15-26 of March.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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