Review Roundup: Did the Critics Lose Their Heads Over SIX at Sydney Opera House? - Read the Reviews!
Six is officially open at the Sydney Opera House, where it is kicking off its Australian tour. The tour will move Melbourne's Comedy Theatre from April 23 and Adelaide's Her Majesty's Theatre from June 11 as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
A witty, pop-fueled musical full of sass, SIX remixes the history of the SIX wives of Henry VIII - Britain's notorious Tudor King - as they take to the microphone to tell their stories: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr.
The cast includes Chloé Zuel as Catherine of Aragon, Kala Gare as Anne Boleyn, Loren Hunter as Jane Seymour, Kiana Daniele as Anna of Cleves, Courtney Monsma as Katherine Howard, and Vidya Makan as Catherine Parr. Joining the SIX Australian Queens are swings Ella Burns, Karis Oka and Shannen Alyce Quan.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Ben Neutze, TimeOut: The other key to its success is the pop score (the cast recording is an enormous hit on streaming services), which is packed with contemporary references and melodies that you'll be humming for days, ranging from Beyoncé-esque kiss-off tracks to Euro pop-inspired pastiche and a gorgeous ballad that wouldn't feel out of place on an Adele album. There are moments that lean heavily on the template laid down in Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, but there's plenty of originality in the lyrics (and the sound design hits the perfect sweet spot so that it feels like stadium pop, but you can still make out every word they sing).
Cassie Tongue, The Guardian: But you come for the Queens, and these queens do not disappoint. Like the musical version of Alexander Hamilton himself, who is Eminem-meets-Sweeney Todd, each of the ex-wives embody a couple of modern "Queenspirations": Catherine of Aragon (with nods at Beyonce and Shakira) is played by Chloé Zuel, who moves and sounds like a pop princess; Kala Gare is Anne Boleyn (Lily Allen and Avril Lavigne), with the kind of star power and cheek that should propel her to more major musical stages; Loren Hunter plays Jane Seymour (Adele and Sia), whose lovely ballad lands just right; Anne of Cleves (Nicki Minaj and Rihanna) is played by Kiana Daniele, a new performer with killer stage presence who just about walks off with the show; Courtney Monsma plays Katherine Howard (Ariana Grande and Britney Spears), and gracefully moves from blithe to dark in one short song; and Catherine Parr (Alicia Keys and Emeli Sande) is played by Vidya Makan, who blows the roof off with stunning vocals and - crucially - carries the show into a denouement that could, in less confident hands, feel far too treacly.
Jo Litson, Limelight: The show has been superbly cast, with fabulous performances all round. Chloé Zuel looks like a pop star and sings with luscious tones as Catherine of Aragon, Kala Gare shines as a straight-talking, minxy Anne Boleyn, Loren Hunter portrays the loyal, loving Jane Seymour and gives a touching rendition of her ballad Heart of Stone, Kiana Daniele is absolutely sensational, displaying knockout comic timing as the jubilant Anne of Cleves, who is more than happy to party without Henry, Courtney Monsma moves from bubble-gum pop to something far darker as the preyed-upon Katherine Howard, with the other women caressing and grabbing her as her song All You Wanna Do unfolds - a very effective bit of staging - and Vidya Makan raises the roof with I Don't Need Your Love as Catherine Parr.
Stephanie Russo, Lighthouse: Six is, in fact, enormous fun and a very self-consciously feminist take on women whose lives have been defined by the man they married. No man appears on stage, either in the cast or the band. The songs are catchy and danceable, and the cast's energy is infectious. I never knew how much I needed a dance remix of Greensleeves, and I doubt there was anybody in the theatre without a huge smile on their face throughout the show. The line "Okay ladies now let's get in Reformation" is worth the price of admission alone.