Playing at Vaudeville Theatre until 28 April 2024
Uni mates Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss had the idea for Six The Musical while studying in their final year at Cambridge. Soon afterward the show debuted as part of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival presented by the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society. Since then, their hit musical has won multiple awards and played multiple West End venues, toured the UK and North America, sailed around the world on Norwegian Cruise Lines, had a UK cast recording released, opened in Australia, New Zealand and on Broadway, had a live Broadway cast recording released, performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, is opening shortly in North Korea and has been filmed for a future theatrical release. It’s safe to say, the Queens of Six are reining supreme all around the world. This year, at the show’s now permanent West End home, The Vaudeville Theatre is welcoming a brand new cast of Queens to court. These Queens may have green sleeves but their lipstick is rebellious red!
“Remember us from your GCSEs?” Six The Musical is a musical recounting the lives and deaths of the six wives of King Henry VIII presented in the style of a modem pop concert. Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr are transformed into Little Mix-esque queens telling the audience how they were divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived to a magnificent pop score. Each Queen competes to be the audience’s favourite with one song each about their life, their marriage and deaths at the hands of King Henry VIII.
Our new queens are Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky as Catherine of Aragon, Baylie Carson as Anne Boleyn, Claudia Kariuki as Jane Seymour, Dionne Ward-Anderson as Anna of Cleves, Koko Basigara as Katherine Howard and Roxanne Couch as Catherine Parr. Getting in on the action were the fabulous ladies in waiting band, led by Katy Richardson on Key with Alice Angliss on drums, Emma Jemima on guitar and Kelly Morris on bass.
As our first queen Catherine of Aragon, Rhianne-Louise brings all the attitude to her song No Way. Both heart-breaking and defiant, her Catherine of Aragon is absolutely on point with phenomenal vocals. Bayle Carson as Anne Boleyn was stunning. With a ferocious energy, they made Boleyn completely their own and the results were hilarious, fresh and completely riveting. Originally from Australia, Carson use their own accent throughout which added so much authenticity and made this home sick boy from Downunder tear up. Brava! Claudia Kariuki’s Jane Seymour was perfection. Her Heart of Stone stopped the show cold, bringing the audience to tears with an astounding rendition of this heartbreaking number. Dionne Ward-Anderson as Anna of Cleves was a revelation. Bringing all the comic timing and owning the part of Cleves, Dionne delighted the audience with her Get Down resulting in a well-deserved mid-show small standing ovation. Koko Basigara as Katherine Howard gave an affecting performance and her All You Wanna Do is still as catchy and earth-shattering as ever. Roxanne Couch as Catherine Parr was magnificent. Bringing about a turning point in the show, her nuanced performance is beautiful and her vocal on I Don’t Need Your Love was absolutely breathtaking.
Incorporating the changes made for Broadway, Six at the Vaudeville Theatre remains one of the best British musicals on the West End. Each new Queen brings so much to their role, keeping the material fresh and relevant. I’ve loved every cast I’ve seen in the show, however, this new cast is easily the best I’ve seen and I’m already planning return trips.
A cracking night out, make sure you catch the fun, riff-tastic, harmony-laden Six at the Vaudeville Theatre.
Reviewed by Stuart James (2023)