Six on Tour (Kimmel Center): Slay Queens!
The six wives of Henry VIII are one of history's greatest obsessions, and rightfully so. They are fascinatingly unique women who sadly have been relegated to just being known as "wives." The musical Six, which is at the Kimmel Center Academy of Music through April 9th, takes on the task of telling the stories of these women, using pop divas as inspiration to help relate the stories for modern audiences. The show succeeds at this goal, and while it may not be the deepest show ever written, it is an extremely entertaining and hilarious time at the theatre.
The show, written by Lucy Moss and Toby Marlow, had it's original run at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which led to a successful UK tour and open ended run in the West End. The show transferred to US for a national tour in 2019, then a Broadway bow in 2020...rough timing, as while it was supposed to open on March 12th 2020, that was also the day that most of the world shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It reopened in the fall of 2021, launched two national tours, and as of March 2023 has recouped its investment on Broadway.
The show is heavily reliant on having six immensely talented performers to play the six wives, and wow does this tour deliver that. All six of the performers have their moment to shine, with each song delivering on the pop diva it is inspired by. It's hard to pick a standout amongst the six wives, but Amina Faye as Jane Seymour and Tercia Marie as Anna of Cleves give particularly affected performances. Faye brings down the house with her take on the Celine Dion/Adele inspired "Heart of Stone." The signature ballad of the show, Faye handles it with nuance and depth that leaves you gasping and clutching your pearls. Marie is equally as fun and engaging as Faye is emotional; her take on "Get Down' is fun and sexy, and leaves the audience on a high.
The technical aspects of Six are also standout. While the set is simple, the lights are complex and exciting, bringing you into the world of the pop concert. The choreography is fun, and moves the show along quickly, with a running time of just about 90 minutes. The book of the musical is pretty straightforward and educational; it takes the stories of these women and shines a light on some of the horrific things they endured during their marriages to the King, while also infusing a lot of humor and heart to make them relatable to modern audiences.
Six is a delight from start to finish, and while it may not be the most complex show ever written, it is a powerhouse of femininity and womanhood (shout-out to the all-woman band too), sure to leave audiences humming the songs for the foreseeable future.
Six is onstage at the Kimmel Center in the Academy of Music in Philadelphia now through April 9th.
You can also catch the tour at any of its other stops across the country!