13 Mar

Six *****

by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss

at the Arts Theatre

SIX is on my mind again having seen it for the third time. It is a quite extraordinary show. Absolutely unique in presentation and employing the talents of ten female performers on the Arts Theatre stage. ‘The Arts’ – That famous little theatre which made ‘Waiting for Godot’ and Samuel Becket household names. A mysterious production that was made theatrical history by the critics of the day. A new kind of theatre.
In Six we do have a similar situation. But in this case, it is an instant popular choice, mingling the excitement of a pop concert with the kind of historical detail of a story that fascinates everyone from childhood.

Needless to say the performances are superlative. The actual six each sing their individual numbers like pop stars in their own right. There are few artists in the business who work with the assurance and expertise of Natalie Paris as Jane Seymour who sings ‘Heart of Stone, one of the more dramatic numbers in the piece featuring her fabulous voice. She has worked her own way of getting what she wanted from the King, even loved him in her way. But she died!
‘I’m Queen of the Castle, Get Down you Dirty Rascal’ by Alexia Mackintosh as Anne of Cleves is a phrase unforgettable and the wicked humour of this particular queen is irresistible. Having been turned down by the King, she is the real winner of the group.

The extremely powerful Jarnea Richard-Noel is a true leader of the Queens. Divorced but still around despite the dissolution of the monasteries and the King’s infatuation with Millie O’Connell the sweet, but bitchy Boleyn who tells everyone not to lose their heads! Of course, she is beheaded just like the very sexy Aimie Atkinson as Katherine Howard has been bought up to give men what they want.

Finally Maiya Quanssah-Breed is the last Katherine, the one who has got her head screwed on and sacrifices her own desires to be left with the remains of the disease ridden King and outlives him. ‘I don’t need your love’ she sings along with the other Queens who haven’t been so fortunate.

The Ladies in Waiting – or as most of us would call them, the orchestra – are all suitably dressed in sequin embroidered trouser suits and they play Toby Marlowe’s varied music styles under the musical director Katy Richardson.
The set is stunning and so are the costumes diamante studded, all individual little skirts or shorts with fishnet tights and very different tops and hairstyles.

The choreography is up to date and energetic – again often showing the individuality of the characters. Carrie-Anne Ingrouille has six terrific dancers to show off her work.

All the girls are sensational solo artists in their own special way and in their ensemble numbers are six times as effective as any pop iodol.
Exciting exhilarating extraordinary. These dancing, singing, humorous ,pretty ,witty queens are winners playing the famous losers of British history. They are nominated for five Oliviers. They deserve to win them all.
They are a theatrical phenomenon.


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