Six: The Musical

By Harsheen Sethi
Picture Credit: Google Images

Musicals seem to be the go-to for all revivals and for good reason. It allows the right amount of liberty to re-visit an old thought or work. Usually, we’ve seen musicals born out of movies and books. But in the recent past, we have seen history being revived on stage. A new light being dawned on a shadowed past.

Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, two university graduates, decided to take up history as we did (not) know it and give us a completely different insight. The musical Six is unusual in its story and the in the way it is told to us. Lately, we’ve seen different forms take the stage. Rap being one of the newer ones. Six takes things a step further and delves into pop. With this musical, you see a spectrum ranging from tones of Taylor Swift to the rhythms Beyoncé.

In this short musical, being showcased on West End, we hear the story of the silenced six- Henry VIII’s ex-wives who were either divorced, beheaded, or died. The only story we know is the one attached to Henry himself but no one knows of the behind the scenes. The musical follows the flow of a concert, with the six ex-wives fighting for the position of the lead singer by showing which of them suffered the most.

In ‘No way’, we are introduced to Catherine of Aragon, the first of the wives. She shares her struggle of almost being pushed into a nunnery after being annulled for Henry began to lust after Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn’s solo, ‘Don’t Lose Your Head’ is the anthem you didn’t know you needed. Calling Henry out for his hypocrisy, Anne, sings about being completely unapologetic and tells others to not lose their heads over her just living her life.

In a love ballad tone, Jane Seymour is up next with a heartfelt solo on even though she was the only one Henry truly loved, it was bound by conditions and Henry’s nature itself. ‘Haus of Holbein’ is a very 90s disco-inspired track parodying a Tinder set up which Henry VIII swipes right on Anna of Cleves who he later rejected for not looking like her ‘profile pic’. In a very Rihanna toned ‘Get Down’ she’s shown to be not the complaining kind, for she’s still the queen of the castle. Katherine Howard, the apparently “least relevant Catherine”, recounts her hardships and trauma at the hands of powerful before being beheaded for being promiscuous. Catherine Parr, the survivor breaks the flow of the show by calling them out for indulging in the fact that they are only known for their connection to Henry and not for themselves. Instead of using ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ to bring to life her hardships, she sings about her accomplishments. She encourages the others to rewrite their histories, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. The last song ‘Six’ is a celebration of the wives as individuals and what they would’ve done had Henry not entered their lives. Six shows what would happen if we take charge of our own narratives.

The musical has a surprise ending, with ‘Mega Six’. This is the most unique feature of the musical and what sets them apart. It allows the audience to bring out their phones and record the six perform a number, recreating a concert on stage. The entire musical is about revivals and it changes the way one views ‘revivals’. Revivals isn’t just of the known and loved. Sometimes, revivals is about the lost and forgotten, those who never got to narrate their stories.

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Check out the musical on apple music.