– 5 stars
Henry VIII is known for establishing the Church of England and for his tumultuous love life, which is why the story of his six wives makes for the perfect musical. From the brainchild of English writing duo Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, SIX is currently playing at the Sydney Opera House until April and is a fun, upbeat and spectacular show, from the incredible costumes to the toe-tapping music and empowering story.
Each wife appears on stage to claim that they were Henry’s best wife through the device of a pop concert or singing competition. Each tries to upstage the following Queen with hard-hitting songs and stories of how they overcame the adversity and trauma of being Henry’s wife: divorce, beheading, death, divorce, beheading, and survival.
SIX is 80 minutes of pure entertainment from an ensemble cast of just six women: Phoenix Jackson Mendosa as Catherine of Aragon, Kala Gare as Anne Boleyn, Loren Hunter as Jane Seymour, Kiana Daniele as Anne of Cleves, Chelsea Dawson as Katherine Howard, and Vidya Mankan as Catherine Parr. Each
girl is enjoyable to watch, bringing cheekiness to their characters, and all look like they are having a wickedly enjoyable time on stage. They are backed up by an all-female on-stage band known as the Ladies in Waiting, who add energy and fun to the performances.
Taking inspiration from today’s female pop stars such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, the show celebrates and empowers women and joins a growing list of musicals that showcase people of all colours, cultures, sexualities, shapes, and sizes. It will make you leave the Opera House wanting to experience it all over again. If you expect to come to SIX to see a classical musical show about a prominent historical figure, you will be surprised to find modern and contemporary pop culture references which answer the question, ‘what would historical figures do with a smartphone and Tinder?’
SIX originally opened in Sydney in January 2020 and successfully sold out its entire Sydney season before having to cancel the remainder of the Australian tour because of Covid. While the show is quite new, it had an exceptional reception thanks in part to social media, and now has several productions worldwide including in London’s West End, Broadway in New York, provincial UK cities, and even on cruise ships.
Get in quickly if you want to see it, as much of the Sydney run has already sold out. It’s thoroughly entertaining with a great spin on a familiar story reclaimed by the women it is about.