six cast


Malvern Theatres


I wasn’t sure how my eldest son (11) would take Six but I was hopeful that the contemporary twist on a history lesson would keep him entertained or at the very least quiet whilst I enjoyed it.

The other slight worry was the way history is often recounted. Nearly exclusively it is not only told through the eyes of the victors but also through male eyes. Added to that there are few more male orientated tales than that of Henry VIII. The women of his life almost becoming a shopping list of characteristics and deaths.

I’m happy to report that my companion for the evening absolutely loved the show, as did I. It’s testament to the performance that I loved it just as much on the second time of viewing. It is nothing short of sensational.

Before the show, the atmosphere in the theatre is one of anticipation – it’s different from the normal excitement prior to a performance. There is a real buzz of excitement at a side of the story being told that has never been told. Henry’s wives, emerging from years of being cast as generic victims, finally get their time in the spotlight, telling their story, their way.

It’s a story of female empowerment and of wit and sass. It is no surprise that its writers, Toby Marlowe and Lucy Moss have also written for one of Australia’s best drag acts – Courtney Act – the songs ooze irreverence and biting social commentary.

cast again

A rollicking celebration of sisterhood, it provides something for everyone with each wife having a different musical style. There are shades of Lily Allen, Beyonce, Britney, Nikki Minaj, Alicia Keys and Adele (other musical acts are available for comparison!) and it gives the show a real vibrancy and relevance.

Everything in Six reeks of class – even the programme is classy.

As well as telling the stories of the women it also seeks to mock the lazy caricatures so beloved of the historians of the past who reduced fully dimensional women to base descriptions and tawdry gossip.

Which brings me nicely to the six wives – who are nothing short of spectacular. Chloe Hart as Catherine of Aragon, Jennifer Cladwell as Anne Boelyn, Casey Al-Shaqsy as Jane Seymour, Jessica Niles as Anne of Cleves, Jaina Brock-Patel as Katherine Howard and Alana M Robinson as Catherine Parr are electric and it would do them a disservice to pick favourites.

The show has a sense of the spectacular – building a fantastic atmosphere and packing a real oomph - helped no end by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s choreography and a perfectly formed set by Emma Bailey and Tim Delling’s superb lighting.

The whole show barrels along with a fantastic live band, quite simply it is a joy from start to finish.

What pleased me even more than the show itself was looking around the audience and seeing so many young boys in attendance (not too young - the age guidance is 10, there is a sprinkling of naughtiness in the themes as you may imagine so I’d say the guidance is about right). To see the next generation of men, experiencing and enjoying Six gives me hope that the history lessons of tomorrow will ensure that women’s stories are told and heard.

Six’s run in Malvern is on until the 29th – with all dates currently sold out but it’s worth checking for returns – if you’re lucky enough to bag one you’ll have an absolute blast. 

Sarah Clarke


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