Entertainment

Six review: Bops worthy of Little Mix make historic retelling a thrill

Reiss Smith November 10, 2021
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(Pamela Raith)

A slick, raucous West End romp.

Reframing a historical narrative with a brilliantly diverse cast and a run of certified bops – sounds familiar, right? But of all the shows to have followed in Hamilton’s Pulitzer-winning footsteps, Six seems to have made the biggest mark.

The basic conceit is this: Henry VII’s six wives have formed a pop group, and the show is their concert. Each takes turns to sing their story, competing for the worst done-by queen. Imagine Little Mix teaching key stage three history, and you’re about half-way there.

The songs are genuine bops, filled with slick, catchy hooks, clever references and at least three oral sex jokes. The choreography is tight and the costumes are up there with Tina Knowles’ best. Like all the best girl bands, Six are at their most potent when they’re united. But each queen also takes her moment to shine, clashing genres and history together with wild abandon. There’s Catherine of Aragon, kicking us off with a Camila-lite bop, “No Way”.

Anne Boleyn’s “Don’t Lose Ur Head” is a stand-out, somewhere between Lily Allen and “The Boy Does Nothing”-era Alesha Dixon. Jane Seymour powers up the piano ballad reserves, before Anne of Cleves (the Fergie of the show) and Katherine Howard (the Nicole Scherzinger) get the show moving again. Catherine Parr brings us home with a final power ballad that turns the entire concept on its head and delivers the big, feminist message of the show – which, while not exactly Gender Trouble, is a nice touch for the young audience.

Six plays at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.

Related topics: Theatre

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