|Kala Gare - Chelsea Dawson - Kiana Daniele - Loren Hunter - Vidya Makan - Phoenix Jackson Mendosa.
and Lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage – Choreographed by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille
Associate Director – Sharon Millerchip – Musical Direction by Claire Healey
Theatre 23rd April to 15th May 2022.
Night performance on 27th April reviewed by Bill Stephens.
for a Cambridge University student production for the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe
Festival “Six” has become something of a global pop phenomenon with a
soundtrack achieving in excess of 450 million streams and a ridiculous 3
billion views on TikTok.
Australian producer Louise Withers was quick
off the mark to secure the Australian and New Zealand performing rights for the
show. She cast it with a sensational cast of young rising Australian triple
threats, brought in the original creatives to stage the show, and surrounded
them with a top line Australian creative team, including the brilliant Sharon
Millerchip as Associate Director charged with the responsibility of keeping the
production in tip top shape for an Australasian tour.
the first stop in a National tour which will take in Adelaide, Melbourne,
Brisbane as well as New Zealand. For this tour the production has been enhanced
with additional lighting and setting to take advantage of the larger stages
than the one in the Sydney Opera House Studio where the production played two
Covid- interrupted sold-out seasons.
conceived, and wonderfully performed, “SIX” is presented in the form of a
rock-concert in which the six wives of Henry V111 compete for the position of
the band’s leader by trying to prove which of them had had the worst experience
at the hands of Henry 111.
competition takes place in a brilliantly lit Tudor-inspired setting in which
both the wives, Catherine of Aragon (Phoenix Jackson Mendoza), Anne Boleyn
(Kala Gare), Jane Seymour (Loren Hunter) Anna of Cleves (Karis Oka), Katherine
Howard (Chelsea Dawson) and Catherine Parr (Vidya Makan), as well as the all-female
band led by Clair Healey, are costumed in glittering futuristic
steam-punk-with-a-Tudor-twist outfits designed by Gabriella Slade.
Each costume holds the clues to the status of
the various wives. For instance Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard both wear chokers
to signify their beheading while Jane Seymour’s black and white corset alludes
to half-timbered houses.
also provide clues to the tuneful score for which the songs through which the
various wives tell their stories are modelled on those of modern-day pop
princesses, among them Beyoncé, Sia, Adele, Rihanna and even Celine Dion.
wears a green costume to reference the myth that Henry V111 composed
“Greensleeves” for her. “Greensleeves” becomes a recurring motif throughout the
show. She also wears space buns to signal her character’s songs are rooted in
those of Miley Cyrus. Younger members of the audience presumably pick up these
signals immediately. Others might find Wikipedia helpful.
stunning opening number in which the six wives introduce themselves, Phoenix
Jackson Mendoza, who plays Catherine of Aragon, and who’s aunt, Natalie Mendoza,
is currently starring on Broadway as Satine in “Moulin Rouge, sets the ball rolling
with a blazing rendition of “No Way” in which she tells how Henry V111 tried to
annul their marriage and place her in a nunnery and replace her with Ann
second wife, Anne Boleyn, sassily interpreted by Kala Gare, mocks Catherine
with “Don’t Lose Ur Head”, explaining how after discovery Henry’s infidelities
she flirted with other men to make him jealous, only to be beheaded for her
as Henry’s loyal third wife, the pensive Jane Seymour, makes her bid with the
lovely ballad, “Heart of Stone”, an Adele-like number in which she claims that
she was the only one of the wives that Henry truly loved, although his love was
conditional on her giving him a male heir.
independent Anna of Cleves, portrayed by Karis Oka, complains of her lonely if
lavish existence having been chosen, then rejected by Henry when she didn’t resemble
her portrait, with her song “Get Down”. She ultimately decides to return to
this existence after being questioned by the others, before Chelsea Dawson as
Henry’s fifth and least relevant wife, Katherine Howard, challenges the group
by recounting in the cheeky “All You
Wanna Do”, her many romantic encounters before
she too was ultimately beheaded.
Vidya Makan as the empowering Catherine Parr fed up with all the arguing,
questions the point of the competition by recounting her own accomplishments
independent of Henry with “I Don’t Need Your Love”. Inspired by Catherine’s argument to realise
they didn’t need Henry’s validation, they band together for the rousing finale
number “Six” in which they re-invent history to tell how their stories would
have turned out if Henry hadn’t been involved.
|Loren Hunter - Chelsea Dawson - Phoenix Jackson Mendoza - Kala Gare - Kiana Daniele - Vidja Makan
intelligent, high-octane, tightly
choreographed ensemble show in which
every member of the exceptional cast and band are on stage for the entire 75
minutes playing time, “Six” is a thoroughly entertaining show with superb
production values and electrifying
performances which can be enjoyed on many levels. It is certainly not to be
Images: James Morgan - Getty Images.
This review also appears in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW. www.artsreview.com.au