“a sensational show … the script sizzles with wit”
Does Six need introducing? Is there anyone at this point who isn’t aware of the musical phenomenon that’s snowballed massively in popularity since 2018, resulting now in its permanent fixture at the Vaudeville Theatre? Probably not. Its simple but effective and easily marketable concept is what propelled the show so far, after all. But, three years on, does it still stand up, stand out, and hook you in?
For those unfamiliar with the premise (both of you), Six sees Henry VIII’s wives brought together on stage. They decide to perform for the audience in turn, each trying to prove that they were the wife who had it the worst. They all rise to the challenge, belting out anthems to the audience about the hardships they suffered, in what feels more like a concert than a run-of-the-mill musical: the band (led superbly by Lauren Hopkinson) are prominently on stage for the whole performance, the costumes (Gabriella Slade) look like they were stolen straight out of the wardrobe of the latest pop icon’s arena tour, and the set (Emma Bailey) and lighting (Tim Deiling) are clearly invoking the feeling of being at a gig. It makes for a spectacle for the senses which frequently dazzles.
The cast are also clearly having an absolute blast. Under the direction of Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, they work stupendously well together, quickly establishing defined characters through bickering interactions between songs and generating a rapport that’s a delight to watch. The standouts were undoubtedly Cherelle Jay and Alexia McIntosh, who in this performance played Anne Boleyn and Anna of Cleves respectively. Jay’s song, ‘Don’t Lose Ur Head’ is performed with enrapturing charm and cheekiness, while McIntosh’s smugness and interplay with the audience in ‘Get Down’ will leave your face hurting from the grin that’ll be plastered on it. The vocals from all the cast are also jaw-on-the-floor fantastic, with Hana Stewart (Catherine Parr in this performance) being especially exceptional.
Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss have crafted a sensational show together: the music would feel right at home in the charts but never forgets to serve the characters above all else, and the script sizzles with wit. There are some moments towards the end when it feels a little student-y, but it’s tremendously easy to overlook when the rest of the show is so joyous. Six is still totally superlative, and I expect it will continue to be for many years to come.
“Some of the moves were so athletic and gravity defying that they induced audible gasps of disbelief from those watching”
Almost exactly eight years to the day, Zoonation’s show returns to the theatre where it staged its world premiere for a short revival.
A grieving Governor is so heart-broken, that he obscures the sun, bans books and exiles women. Two ladies in not so much of a nod, more of an affectionate wink to Some Like It Hot and Twelfth Night, sneak back into the city dressed as men and try to blend in, producing much hilarity and unexpected love.
An impressive set flies in and out with military precision and is so slick that it almost matches the staccato movement of the surrounding dancers. Lighting is sombre, matching the mood of the governor and yet is always precisely on point. Costumes are suitably ‘street’ and are cleverly designed to give the actors all the room they need for the lightening quick movement required.
You could pick holes in the script, yet I’m fairly confident that not a single person in the packed auditorium was there to find a sub-plot, they were there for the dance and boy what a treat they had.
The story was told by a narrator and my only quibble was that he was not always easy to understand, cutting off the end of his sentences and sometimes being drowned out by the score. The two female singers had rich, soulful voices that complemented each other beautifully and effortlessly filled the theatre.
Some Like it Hip Hop is an ensemble piece and all the dancers clearly have a trust and respect for each others work and great humour is injected into the show. As the Governor, (Christian Alozie) is strong, masculine and as moody as the World that he has created, his rooted to the spot krumping is a joy to behold. The two lead ladies are terrific. Jo-Jo (Lizzie Gough) is quirky and delightfully complements her love interest Simeon. Kerri (Jade Hackett) with one lucky punch, is looked upon as more of a man than all the hunks surrounding her and makes the most of all her humorous moments in both her movement and facial expression. Simeon (Tommy Franzen) is extraordinary. His dancing is clean, controlled and seemingly effortless, with every move, however small, having a purpose.
So many scenes were memorable, a clever section with six characters all restlessly going to sleep, an extremely funny song ‘Rules Of Seduction’ and the final battle for supremacy ramps the acrobatic dance moves to a whole new level.
I was delighted to see that the audience was made up of mostly teenagers and children, I was treated to the most amazing curtain call I have ever seen with each actor having a short dance isolation whilst the rest of the cast mirrored their movements in a surrounding horseshoe. Some of the moves were so athletic and gravity defying that they induced audible gasps of disbelief from those watching.
This is a high energy, incredibly skilful show that will live in the memory for a long time. I’m not sure if it’s good form for a reviewer to stand up and join in the dancing at the end of the show but I did.
At the very beginning of the evening, we were encouraged by the narrator to make as much noise as possible. That is exactly what happened and what a happy, excited noise it was.