Theatre

SIX at The Lighthouse, Poole Review

DISCLOSURE – TICKETS TO SEE THE SHOW WERE GIFTED TO THE REVIEWER AND GUEST FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THE REVIEW

Reviewed by Helen O

I had heard so many wonderful things about the multi award-winning Broadway and West End smash hit, SIX and so I was beyond excited to be given the opportunity to watch and review it on opening night at The Lighthouse, Poole and it was particularly fitting that it was Halloween night, given some of the gruesome deaths we were to hear about!

We were seated in row K giving us an excellent view of the stage and all of the action.  There was plenty of leg room, to allow a comfortable viewing of the performance, so we just had to sit back and enjoy the show.  And what a show it was! 1 hour and 20 minutes of non-stop entertainment (there is no interval, which really helped to keep the momentum going).

Written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and first performed at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival in 2017, SIX tells the story of each of the SIX wives of King Henry VIII – Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr, in their own words and from their perspective.

The performance was presented in the form of a pop concert, with each of the SIX Ex-Queens competing with a chance to win the title of the most misfortunate of his wives.  Each taking turns (in the order of their marriage to the main man) to sing about their experiences and detailing their fate at Henry’s Hands – divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived!  I’ll be honest, I was never a History fan at school, but if the lessons had been presented in this way, well I’d have definitely paid way more attention!!  All SIX remained on stage for the duration of the show, accompanied by an amazing band of all-female musicians – The Ladies in Waiting!  It was an absolutely brilliantly modern way to present their stories.

Marlow & Moss have created such fantastic characters for each of the Queens, taking a mixture of modern day pop icons as their inspiration, to create the individual personalities for the leading ladies, including Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Adele, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande and Alicia Keys to name but a few. Each lending themselves to a different musical style, which makes the whole performance so unique and enjoyable.

From the very outset, the energy was amazing, with a wonderful mix of comedy, heartache and female empowerment running throughout the entire performance. It was second to none.  Absolutely brilliant.  We were totally engaged with the performance from the moment the SIX burst onto the stage, until the standing ovation they so richly deserved at the end of the show, which almost brought the house down.  I’d watch the show again in a heartbeat, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Each of the SIX leading ladies were phenomenal in their own right, bringing each of the Queens to life in their very own way, with different musical styles and exquisite voices, especially during their solos.  My favourite character was Anne Boleyn, played by Laura Dawn Pyatt.  She played the character brilliantly, bringing a fantastic wit to the proceedings, as well as an amazing voice.  I also loved Nicole Louise Lewis as Catherine of Aragon.  Again an exquisite voice and fantastic comic timing, with an amazing stage presence.

The costumes were so creatively designed to bring each character to life, reflecting their personalities and were absolutely stunning and befitting of royalty.  The set was perfect for the show, with no set changes needed during the performance, so the sole focus was on the SIX and their Ladies in Waiting.

I loved the emphasis that was placed on the SIX being important in their own rights, rather than just their role as one of King Henry’s wives.  As they say, they took HIStory and made it HERstory.  The strong message of female empowerment was complimented by the all-female ensemble, including the band.  Although the SIX were alive 500 years ago, there are still some comparisons which can be made to the current day.

The show is recommended for ages 10 years+, which I think is about right.  The performance began at 8pm and running at 80 minutes, it’s not a late finish for younger audience members either.

In summary, SIX is a must-see. From the cast, to the costumes, to the music, to the band.  You can’t fail to feel uplifted and energized by watching this truly amazing show.  I could have watched them all night.

The cost of the tickets ranges between £30 to £52.50 each, which on first appearances seems like quite a high price point, but in reality, you’re watching a performance of a West End show and would therefore expect ticket prices to be at this price point, representing the quality of a performance like this.  In the end, you get what you pay for.

Rating: 5/5 – I’d give it more if I could!

RRP: Tickets range from £30 to £52.50.

Buy tickets here: https://www.lighthousepoole.co.uk/event/six/ SIX runs from 31st October 2023 to 12th November 2023, with 16 performances over that time.

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