Nutshell review: Six women, famous for a man, reclaim her-story through the power of pop.
Many reviewers would be tempted to give you six reasons to go see SIX. I’ll give you one. It’s just that good. Through the thinly veiled conceit of a Pop Idol style contest, the six wives of Britain’s most notorious monarch launch us through a highly factual and even more hilarious retelling of their individual misfortunes at the hands of the Tudor’s #1 misogynist. Most thankfully Henry VIII is hardly named in the blistering 80-minute pop spectacular, and that is a good thing.
The six divas graced the DPAC stage like the ultimate girl-band, lined up in the most spectacular of studded and sequined attire, designed by Costume Designer Gabriella Slade. The highly individualized dresses, a joyful collision of metalwork and fireworks, complemented the scintillating scenic and lighting design (Emma Bailey and Tim Deiling respectively). No need for scene changes here as thousands of controlled LEDs transport us from chapels to throne rooms to the “Tinder-swipe”. The lights dance with intricate choreography to the accompaniment of the live band rocking their hearts out behind our fierce queens.
On opening night at DPAC, Anna of Cleves was portrayed by an irrepressible Cecelia Snow who dominated her number (“Get Down”) with unquenchable vocals. Another standout mention is Amina Faye as Jane Seymour, whose ballad, “Heart of Stone”, shone with deliciously heart-rending high-notes, executed to perfection. It must be said however that there was little to distinguish the ensemble in terms of sheer talent and energy. This was exemplified in the highly enjoyable group number “Haus of Holbein” — a techno romp in the kitchiest of Eurotrash tradition.
This show is a clear reclamation of history — sorry her-story — and a bold statement throughout of the power that these women hold. Moreover in this tour, diversity in both color and body is not even a “tick-box” it is simply fact. There has been no attempt to pander or appeal to the masses, woke or otherwise. The audience takes it as read that these women are the queens they say they are and each one is gorgeous and formidable.
The national touring production of Six runs through July 2. For more information visit https://www.dpacnc.com/.
Naveed Moeed (he/him), is a British-born Pakistani and makes his home in North Carolina as an IT Business Development professional. A writer, actor, producer and stage manager, Naveed volunteers withThee Quaker Project (a multimedia storytelling collaboration). Naveed reports on theatre and musical performance and is a photographer at www.fractalsedge.net.
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