This might get me exiled, decapitated, or even worse, CANCELLED, but I’m not a fan of SIX the ‘musical’, even though the treacherous brochure (malevolently masquerading as a programme) which cost not SIX but EIGHT quid, told me that having been DUPED into parting with my legal tender in exchange for it, I’m now “OFFICIALLY a fan – whether you like it or not.”
Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t HATE it. I didn’t even dislike it. It just didn’t do it for me. Maybe I’m just too much, like, MOCK TUDOR?
It did do it for hundreds of people surrounding me, at least one hundred of which appeared to be – well – SIX, give or take a year or two. They loved it. Especially the wanabee queens, one of whom nearly decapitated my first and, so far, only WIFE, as she (the child, that is, not my wife) did her best to replicate the lacerations being whipped out relentlessly by the kevlar-bodiced rock monarchs on stage.
I’d like, ACHED to see this turbo-Tudor royal rampage since first reading reviews of its astonishing birth, accession and conquest. It was, like, conceived as a student show back in, like, only 2017, (the year I stopped seeing student shows, like, EVERY HOUR) and I can, like, defo confirm this was once a student show. It has been like, ADORED, for being like, so pro-femo it is positively queenpower on a pike. And yeah, the spouses are re-doing it for themselves.
We’ve all heard of the SIX wives of Henry THE EIGHTH, and we heard them well enough in the like, OPERA House at BlackPOOL, as they were amplified to within a turtledove’s PECK of their EXISTENCES. This show like, REBRANDS the Renaissance shag/marry/shorten superstars as strong independent partners, and QUITE RIGHT too, as what is history for except, like, telling it as it IS instead of as it was?
To be truthful this was, like, mostly GOOD FUN! Wit abounded, well – gambolled – gamely. There were at least like, SIX, good gags. Plus six more but they were actually just one good gag told SIX different ways. (No spoilers – except to the torso of the other, other Boleyn girl/woman/queen/queen mother who delivered them. Anne’s head had so many punchlines it deserved its own bow.)
The songs were, like, GREAT, if you like that kind of song sung that kind of way. I don’t much. That’s my failing, not theirs. Some of the lyrics are gut-goshingly witty if not always historically, like, REAL.
Henry sent me a poem[Anne Boleyn]
All about my green sleeves
I changed a couple words
Put it on a sick beat
The song blew their minds
Next minute I was signed
And now I’m writing lyrics
For Shakesy P.
Bit tricksy Annie B, as you were like, off your head, like, PERMANENTLY, a full three decades before little Willy was even a seed in Mary Arden’s lady garden. Hang on. . .praps you like, HAUNTED him? When he did turn up, and like, grow up, he had his own go at strong queenery:
(Lady Macbeth. Macbeth. Act one, scene 5)
Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe topful
Of direst cruelty!
But WTF, let’s not get, like, FUSSY. As the ohmygoshingly cheery historical Lucy Worsley scribbles in the ohmygoshingly overpriced brochure “But for me, as a historian, the cleverest thing about a sensationally clever piece of work is the way it mocks the historians of the past”. She’s not wrong.
The aspiring lords and ladies in waiting around me probably didn’t notice, and cared even less about the mockery. They screamed their delight from curtain up to glitter-cannon down. They like, like, ultra LOVED it.
Some had already got the t-shirt before they’d like, pre-ELIZABEEN there and done that. Tiny people in tops with the names of SIX dead Mrs Henrys billboarded down their backs went bounding in past human ravens hawking the merchant of vendor’s pounds of flash. They knew the words, the tunes and the ruff way to strut it.
SIX is not what it, like, POSTS to be. SIX is not a MUSICAL. It’s a girl band pop gig. SIX songs, plus a few more, not like, that different, but not that like, like. Every Hal-dynasty diva gets her power ballad, and most, like, end in a like chopping-block crescendo to send the queenlings EXPLOSIVE.
SIX is not even SIX; it’s TEN. Four minstrels share the stage like, ALL THE TIME, without busting the gender barrier. Everyone’s a queen of all their trades.
I did enjoy some of the numbers with Haus of Holbein being my FAV, even though that kind of tune aint my thing. The words, the vibe and the moves was sick.
“We must make sure the princesses look great
When their time comes for the Holbein portrait“
The word is that Henry EIGHT on meeting Anne of Cleves did not think she lived up to Holbein’s promotional poster of her, or the billing her promoters had provided. Praps that’s why this song, like, plucked a chord wiv me?
Henry EIGHT is reputed to have liked a jig, until a wonky horse trot gave him thigh-rot. His reconditioned SIX (plus four) partners gave their all. No complaints re the energy, but this was no Southbank-side story. The twirls, wriggles and shapes were like, MAGESTIC in a like, Spite Girls style, but it was more, like, decorative than narrative. Lots of movement, but like, not much ACTION.
There ain’t no plot, but it was like, a Hampden ALLOTMENT of plotments. Tons of texts and profile picks. We know how it ends though that don’t stop this sisterhood re-staging it. And they don’t hang around – that aint the royal way. At five to the hour, the house crier said we should switch off our phones because insta-portaits are not allowed and there was less than SIX minutes to go before they’d start the show. SIXTEEN minutes later they got underway and SEVENTY minutes after that we were outside the Winter Gardens on our way back to our horsepower. Yeah – verily I warrant thee – one hour and a bit for SIX times SIX quid. Some down below paid even more. No signs, m’lord, of a cost of living crisis – except for Ms Boleyn, Ms Howard and Ms Seymour.
My head was still on but my rip felt decidedly off.
So not to this old geezer’s taste. That I can tolerate, but it cost me and the first Mrs H the best part of a quid a minute to see, like, SIX variations of a re-touched tableau, and that felt more like taxation than celebration, but we can’t ignore the infant regents who came knowing what they were in for and like, LOVED, what they got when they were given it.
It all comes down to your vintage. If un-beheaded Boleyn-meets-Beyonce bounces your scaffold, and you’re like, SPLASHING the king’s ransom like there’s no merry morrow, then this might re-float your royal barge.
If, like me, you want unfettered creativity, high variety and seductive subtlety, perhaps give this festival of Mrs, a miss.
BEAUTIFUL is coming back to Blackpool. Read my review of it here: A few cross-stitches short of a tapestry
For more not entirely true Tudor tales: