Tag Archives: Izuka Hoyle

Six – 5 Stars

Six

Six

Arts Theatre

Reviewed – 15th January 2018

★★★★★

“an exuberant and joyful musical treat”

 

Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived. The story of Henry VIII’s wives is probably one of the most familiar parts of British history, having inspired countless movies, novels and TV adaptations. But I challenge anyone to find one as uplifting and empowering as Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow’s Six. A stunning ensemble piece, pitch perfect with its tongue firmly in a cheek. The cast are vocally impeccable, each performing with an individual charm and flair that blends flawlessly. The score is bright, fun and rockets along. It is very hard to stay in your seat as the urge to dance along stays with you after the curtain comes down. This is a bright, brash girls night with a pumping sound track. But there is a message in the madness and it lands full force thanks to the spirit and energy of the performers.

The story may be well known – Henry VIII a man who abandoned his faithful wife for a younger model, then bullied, bored and executed his way through 5 more, reshaping England along the way – but this show is not just about history. It’s about challenging women’s narratives and redefining the roles. These women have been cast as victims – even Parr who ‘survived’ Henry is rarely considered more than a footnote in his story. This show tackles that head on. The premise is simple – each wife gives their case to the audience to prove themselves the true Queen by proving that they suffered the most. But what we see is not a collection of sob stories, whinging and wallowing. These ladies kick arse, (literally in some cases), and the result is one of the most jubilant and energetic takes on the six I have ever seen.

Far from indulging in weakness, the show highlights the strength, humour and depth in these characters creating six well rounded and charismatic women for the modern day. And some of their problems don’t seem that far removed from 2018 – we even see the Tudor version of Tinder. The first three, perhaps the most familiar due to the controversy surrounding Anne, kick against the stereotypes. Far from the dutiful wife, Catherine of Aragon (Renée Lamb) has sass and attitude, blowing in a with a ballsy number that demands answers. Neither the scheming seductress or manipulated pawn, Anne Boleyn (Christina Modestou) is just a girl who wants to have fun with perhaps the most catchy number of the night, (I’ll confess to humming that one on the way home). And though earnest, Jane Seymour’s (Natalie Paris) ballad resonates with strength and power. There are no shy or shrinking violets on this stage.

Perhaps because they are so often overlooked elsewhere, it’s the second half that really holds some surprises. Had the crown really been up for grabs, my vote would have gone to Anne of Cleves (Genesis Lynea). With her hip hop anthem Queen of The Castle, the 4th queen is celebrated as the one who played the game and ultimately came out a winner, even if history has been unkind. But its not all innocent glee. Catherine Howard (Aimie Atkinson), performing an Arianna Grande style pop song with added bravado, has a heart wrenching moment of poignancy as she literally gets stuck in her own rhythm. Finally Catherine Parr (Izuka Hoyle) – the survivor. This is where the show really flips. Catherine’s song breaks the narrative and dares to offer a view on the character not coloured by Henry. She calls out the history books for relegating these women to the roles of wives, props in Henry VIII story. The final note of the show is not the six bickering over their role in a man’s story – it’s six women coming together to be seen as individuals and it had the whole audience cheering and clapping along.

Six is an exuberant and joyful musical treat – the perfect antidote to Black Monday and a great show to see in the new year.

 

Reviewed for thespyinthestalls.com

Photography by Josh Bird

 

Arts Theatre link

SIX

Arts Theatre until 22nd January

 

 

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Working

Southwark Playhouse

Opening Night – 7 June 2017

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

A fun musical buzzing with great stories, music and dance

 

 

Anything with a link to Lin-Manuel Miranda is bound to attract attention and for this alone there will be many Miranda followers who will buy a ticket to see Working which features some of his music. For a wider audience anyone lucky enough to attend this show will leave with a spring in their step and a smile on their face.

Working is the European Premiere of an extraordinary musical from Grammy and Academy Award-winner Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell) based on Studs Terkel’s 1974 best-selling book of interviews with the American workforce. It provides a portrait of the American workday told from the perspective of those so often overlooked, be it a schoolteacher, millworker, housewife care worker, nanny or waitress, amongst many.

Dean Chisnall in WORKING
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Production Photography by Robert Workman

The Southwark Playhouse has gained a reputation for staging remarkable musicals and Working should be added to the list of current must see shows. There is much to admire of this production. The set and costumes reflect a grimy industrial background, the music is expertly performed and there is an outstanding cast of twelve that exudes enthusiasm and obvious love for the show.

Taking the main parts are experienced stage actors Gillian Bevan, Dean Chisnall, Krysten Cummings, Siubhan Harrison, Peter Polycarpou and Liam Tamne. They play several different characters during the show.

 

LtoR Nicola Espallardo, Huon Mackley, Izuka Hoyle, Patrick Coulter, Luke Latchman & Kerri Norville. Photo by Darren Bell.

A further six carefully selected theatre graduates support the action and those making their professional debut are Patrick Coulter, Nicola Espallardo, Izuka Hoyle, Luke Latchman, Huon Mackley and Kerri Norville. On this showing they have a great future ahead.

The show bursts into life from the very first minute with Fabian Aloise’s thrilling choreography grabbing the audience’s attention and over the next 90 minutes there is so much to enjoy. It is high energy production that rarely stops to breathe. The lighting and sound enhances the overall experience.

A talented cast performs each of the stories expertly throughout though standout songs are James Taylor’s Millwork expertly portrayed by Siubhan Harrison; Peter Polycarpou brings a tear to the eye with Fathers and Sons and Krysten Cummings hits the spot with Just a Housewife, an anthem for a job the importance of which is often overlooked. There is a character for everyone to identify with and at the end the show we get to understand that everyone’s job is as important as everyone else’s, different though they may be.

 

Working is playing for a strictly limited season at the Southwark Playhouse, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD ending 8 July 2017.

 

 

www.SouthwarkPlayhouse.co.uk