Audiences have been losing their minds to “Six”, the Tony-winning House of Tudor tuner, since its 2017 debut at the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
A rousing tribute to Henry VIII’s sextet of wives, the coterie of queens who were famously abused and/or beheaded by the monstrous monarch.
In a brutal deconstruction of the past, “Six” turns these dethroned queens into torch-singing pop divas covered in glitter and sequins.
From the regal Catherine of Aragon (Khaila Wilcoxon), the first and tallest wife, and the badass Anne Boleyn (Storm Lever), to the lovelorn Jane Seymour (Jasmine Forsberg), the favorite for producing a male heir, these booty-shaking beauties seem not to be a victim of patriarchal oppression. At least not at first glance.
Steeped in the vibe of the Beyonce era, they swing, parade and sashay around the concert-like staging – complete with a live band on stage – with an anachronistic sense of empowerment that rewrites history to make the women the stars of the story. to make.
To be honest, all that sparkly girl power can seem a bit empty at first, a superficial romp tailored for a society more suited to selfies than subtlety. But just when that fluffy “Bridgerton”-esque revisionism that transforms the martyrs into megastars starts to bug some of us, the plot thickens and “Six” really starts to fizzle.
Cleverly crafted by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the racy 85-minute show is fast, furious and funny, but also slyly subversive. When you least expect it, the slick TikTok aesthetic gives way to some gritty truth-telling.
Coquettish Katherine Howard (Didi Romero) tells “her story” of how she was “seduced” at age 13 and then traded from man to man until she ended up with the cold-blooded king. That gritty little fairytale paves the way for Gabriella Carrillo’s formidable turn as Catherine Parr, the last queen consort, and the musical’s stiletto-sharp angle, which breaks with the patriarchal tropes of yesteryear.
The imperturbable Parr revolves around the show’s feminist awakening as the women try to define themselves beyond being a part of this ex-wife extravaganza. In the final remix of the show, the sisters do it for themselves. Some muffled acoustics take the edge off the lyrics, but the intent is still clear.
“Six” explodes its own origin story to show us how pathetic it is when society pits women against each other, scrambling for the crumbs off a man’s table. Distorting that tired, but sadly very contemporary trope, ‘Six’ is one to remember.
Please contact Karen D’Souza at [email protected]
By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, presented by BroadwaySF
By means of: March 19
Where: Orpheum Theater, 1192 Market St., San Francisco
Duration: 85 minutes, no intermission
Tickets: $66.50 – $263.50 (subject to change); www.broadwaysf.com