Edinburgh 2018: BWW Review: SIX, Underbelly
Six began as a Cambridge University student production before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe last year. It returns to Edinburgh this year, following on from a successful run at the Arts Theatre in London and a UK tour.
The six-strong female cast, ably supported by a rocking four-piece band, are formidable and fierce as they bring to life the stories of the six wives of Henry VIII.
The musical is set as a concert, with the six wives competing to 'lead' the band. The wife with the most heart-wrenching story wins. It's an odd premise, and it doesn't entirely work. Competing in this way, using their tales of pain, heartbreak and beheading, just doesn't sit right - a conclusion the wives eventually come to in the end.
Instead, they decide to stop competing, come back together, and the six become one; concluding with a number imagining what life would have been like without Henry.
The true highlight of the evening is the vocal performances of the talented cast. The singing is of a consistently high standard, and despite the pop score and vocal acrobatics it never goes over the top.
In particular, Natalie Paris stands out. As Jane Seymour she delivers a ballad, "Heart of Stone", that could quite easily have been written by Adele. She brings truth to the role and it is a genuinely emotional moment in an otherwise high-octane evening.
The show is staged simply, but it works. The choreography (Carrie-Anne Ingrouille), however, is uninspiring and despite its simplicity is not always executed with the precision that is needed.
The style of the musical is clearly heavily influenced by the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton - in particular, the vocal harmonies are very reminiscent of the Schuyler Sisters - but it lacks its own identity.
Six is a fun night out. It won't change the landscape of musical theatre, but it absolutely delighted the audience, who were very quick to provide a standing ovation.