Six The Musical ★★★★★

Six The Musical sees the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to tell their tales – with a stunning new cast for 2023.

We have a confession to make. This was not The Recs‘ first audience with these six Pop Tudor Queens. In fact, staying completely on brand, it was our sixth!

Six The Musical has been a smash hit all over the world since it began its journey at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017, and it is well on its was to achieving cult status with people now starting to compare how many times they have seen it rather than asking if they have seen it at all. If you are a musical theatre fan and haven’t been in the presence of Their Majesties yet, there is no time (or cast) like the present! With six (still on brand) productions to date, the show has won awards across the world from London to Broadway and even Australia, and is soon to be gracing stages across Korea and the Netherlands later this year.

All images by Pamela Raith

SIX sees the wives of Henry VIII turned into pop princesses as they reimagine the lives of one of the most famous dynasty’s in British history, satirised at the start of the show as most-probably being familiar to you if you did a history GCSE at school. The show is a one-act 75-minute pop concert of new music written and composed by Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow, sewn together with snippets of dialogue filled with both comedy and emotion, and leading you through the trials (literal ‘trials’ in some cases) and tribulations of their lives married to Henry VIII. Each queen is portrayed in the style of well-known pop artists of the 21st century, with nods to the likes of Adele, Ariana Grande, Rhianna and Beyoncé, with the performance abilities to match!

The newest sextet of Queens at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End are nothing less than spectacular. It’s difficult to individually review the performances of the six actresses who star in the show, Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky as Catherine of Aragon, Baylie Carson as Anne Boleyn, Claudia Kariuki as Jane Seymour, Dionne Ward-Anderson as Anna of Cleves, Koko Basigara as Katherine Howard and Roxanne Couch as Catherine Parr, as all of them are unbelievably talented, and at last night’s Gala performance for this new cast, they blew the roof off the theatre with not a move out of place or note off key.

Each portrayal is themed heavily on the style of the pop artist that their Queen has been reimaged in the light of, but one thing that they all had in common was powerhouse vocals and superbly slick dancing. The combination of vocal style throughout, from the candy pop sound of Koko Basigara to the soul of Claudia Kariuki, gave depth and variety to the piece, and the complexity of their trills and runs made for an incredibly exciting show. Each of the six queens had wisdom woven into their portrayals but it was the brilliant character acting of Baylie Carson as the ill-fated Anne Boleyn who set the jovial tone throughout and kept the piece from veering too far into the serious. Dionne Ward-Anderson makes her West End and professional debut in SIX but from the skill and dexterity of her acting ability you would have throughout she was a seasoned pro. Ward-Anderson held the audience’s attention throughout the highs and lows of her performance, and received the biggest rapturous applause of the night as her reward.

The whole piece is perfectly produced, co-directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, featuring choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille. The design team includes Emma Bailey (Set Design), Gabriella Slade (Costume Design), Tim Deiling (Lighting Design) and Paul Gatehouse (Sound Design). And it is the design of the whole production which elevates it from being a brilliantly-written piece to the worldwide success that it has become. Bailey’s simple but remarkably effective set, lit with such ingenuity by Deiling is just right for the piece. It has grown and developed since the early days of the original West End production and is all the better for it – the perfectly polished crown upon the Queen’s heads. Last note goes to Gabriella Slade and her Tony award winning costume design. It is truly ingenious and utterly appropriate for the piece, with enough of a nod to the Tudor fashions of the day, and hits every part of the pop concert brief.

While we assume SIX isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, if you haven’t seen it yet then you need to start clocking up those views or by the time it has a full-scale cult following, you’re going to look a tad silly, and with simultaneous productions both in the West End and on a UK Tour, there is no reason to lose your head trying to get a ticket!

SIX still reigns supreme –

SIX Tickets

SIX is currently booking at the Vaudeville Theatre until Sunday 29 October 2023.

Book Tickets