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Review: SIX THE MUSICAL at Comedy Theatre

4.5 STARS!

Review: SIX THE MUSICAL at Comedy Theatre
Loren Hunter, Chelsea Dawson, Phoenix Jackson Mendoza, Kala Gare, Kiana Daniele & Vidya Makan
Photo by James D Morgan

SIX the Musical is a must see this winter in Melbourne. Short and sweet at only 75-minutes long, SIX will have you jamming in your seat, while listening to the six wives of Henry VIII tell their side of the story, as a reimagined pop girl group! Since its West-End premiere in 2019, SIX has taken the world by storm, with over 450 million Spotify streams and winning two Tony Awards earlier this month (Best Original Score and Best Costume Design in a Musical).

Originally presented by Cambridge University students as part of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, SIX now is playing on The West End, Broadway, as well as touring the UK and Ireland, North America and of course Australia and New Zealand. The most important legacy this musical leaves however is the chance for the historical perception of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Katherine Parr to be rewritten and become so much more than "Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived".

Review: SIX THE MUSICAL at Comedy Theatre
Kiana Daniele
Photo by James D Morgan

With a fresh and intelligent book, music, and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the storytelling in SIX is relevant, refreshing, rocking, and riveting. No matter how well or how little you know about Tudor history you will be in for a pleasant surprise with SIX, courtesy of Marlow and Moss' genius. Marlow and Moss are also trailblazers in their own rights, with Marlow becoming the first openly non-binary winner of a Tony award and Moss becoming the youngest female director of a musical in Broadway history at age 26.

Surrounding this power duo's exceptional talent is the rest of the creative team who are equally talented and produce fantastic work. This includes an electrifyingly excellent set design by Emma Bailey, a lighting design by Tim Deiling that is worthy of an arena-spectacular and choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille that is discerning, sharp and on-point with the score. As well, Gabriella Slade's Tony-award winning costume design is exquisitely stellar, blending a pop-rock girl group vibe with Tudor regalness.

And then of course there is the cast themselves, who exude so much energy one wonders how they do this eight times a week! Phoenix Jackson Mendoza as Catherine of Aragon is a firecracker in "No Way" and starts the competition off between the wives strongly. Next Kala Gare revitalizes and modernises the legendary historical figure of Anne Boleyn, for whom Henry VIII severed England from the Catholic church. In "Don't Lose Ur Head" Gare cheekily nails Marlow and Moss' sassy lyrics, such as "sorry not sorry". Gare makes Anne Boleyn her own, something that is not easy, given the number of interpretations of Boleyn over the last 500 years.

Review: SIX THE MUSICAL at Comedy Theatre
Loren Hunter
Photo by James D Morgan

Loren Hunter commands the stage as wife three, Jane Seymour, "The only one he truly loved". In the power-ballad "Heart of Stone" Hunter shines bright. Wow can this women sing, dance and act! Hunter is a true triple threat who is jammed packed full of star quality and a true pleasure to watch. Her voice has an almost spiritual quality. Kiana Daniele rocks it out as hip Anna of Cleves in "Get Down". Daniele's performance coupled with Marlow and Moss' perfect lyrics, provides a surprising and unique perspective to Anna of Cleves

Chelsea Dawson as Katherine Howard, wife five and the second to be beheaded, tells her side of the story convincingly and with strong conviction in "All You Wanna Do". Finally, Shannen Alyce Quan as Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife, expertly challenges her historical narrative in "I Don't Need Your Love" and leaves the audience in awe of her formidable vocals. While Quan is a Swing, with the role of Catherine Parr normally played by Vidya Makan, Quan's talent and skill ensures that any audience who get to see her perform one of the many roles she covers will be very lucky indeed.

Whether you are coming for the songs, the history, the costumes or just for a night of fun SIX will not disappoint.

SIX the Musical is playing at Melbourne Comedy Theatre through to August 7th. For more information and to book ticket visit sixthemusical.com/australia
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Review: SIX THE MUSICAL at Comedy Theatre
Kala Gare, Chelsea Dawson, Kiana Daniele, Loren Hunter, Vidya Makan & Phoenix Jackson Mendoza
Photo by James D Morgan



From This Author - Josh Stent

Josh has had a passion and love for the Arts ever since seeing his first musical The Secret Garden at age 5. Originally from New Zealand, Josh graduated from The McDonald College of Performing... (read more about this author)


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