Performing Arts: Theater
October 10, 2021
Ready for some high powered singing and nonstop action? Then SIX is for you. Meet six glam queens of all time at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. One after another, the six wives of Henry VIII, belt out pop-styled songs demanding who of all the wives was most beautiful, cleverest, sexiest, and deserving of Henry's love. Bits from each queen's bio filters through the solos filling out an existence solely determined by a male's whims.

According to the wives, Henry VIII owes his celebrity status to them. And from the sound of the cheering audience, these blazingly talented women are right.

Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss's ebullient musical pits the queens in competition with one another and the one who wins over the audience with the most potent sob story takes all the glory!

Despite the wicked lyrics, a woman's lack of agency in the 16th century resounds loud and clear undergirding the nonstop hilarity. Tautly regal in a futuristic, high-collard 16th century royal gown, Catherine of Aragon (Adrianna Hicks) remains by Henry's side for 23 years. After Catherine, the wives overlap in glorious highs and heady falls.

A fashion plate reviled by the public, Anne Boleyn (Andrea Macasaet) claims superb confidence, until of course, she loses her head. Despite her indiscretions while Henry was hitched to Boleyn, Jane Seymour's (Abby Mueller) ballad of love and unselfishness Heart of Stone hits a special spot of recognition.

Less notorious, the final three wives -- Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack), Catherine Howard (Samantha Pauly) and Catherine Parr (Courtney Mack) -- cement the king's view of women as political pawns, male baby progenitors and sex trinkets. Howard, who strays while married, punches out All You Wanna Do and Parr, the final, surviving wife, revels in I Don't Need Your Love.

What separates this sextet from other song-cycles is the heady direction by Moss and Jamie Armitage in conjunction with Carrie-Anne Ingrouille's tight, appetizing choreography. Propelled by catchy songs and lyrics, the staging --along with the inventively witty costumes by Gabriella Slade -- and ethereal lighting by Tim Deiling, SIX explodes in a rich tapestry of talent.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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