Spot On Productions The Point, Eastleigh Anne Waggott 3 February 2024
From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the infamous six wives of Henry VIII step up to the mic to reveal their tales in the ultimate fictional singing competition, competing to be crowned the most significant of Henry’s ex-wives, as much with who has the greatest heart-rending sob-story as to who has the finest musical ability. Although based on historical characters, there is dramatic licence at play, so don’t expect everything to be absolutely correct and factual!
I may be one of the few people in the audience who hadn’t seen Six before this production, although of course its reputation precedes it (and you would have to have been living under a rock not to have heard the titular song!), so I don’t know how the Teen Edition has been modified compared to the full show. However, I can fully appreciate the appeal and popularity of this show – and there is no doubt that there was an excited air of expectation from the almost capacity audience. This is a musically challenging show for young voices – but my word, Team Gold* certainly delivered!
It is impossible to single out one performance over another as each actor is confident and compelling in their distinctive individual characters, faithfully portrayed throughout the show, whilst gelling together as a brilliantly cohesive girl group. They all tell their stories with such conviction, comedic timing and emotions, and seem equally at ease with audience interaction as they are with each other. Each actor brings a unique personality to their characters, powerful singing voices, they’re comfortable with the use of a handheld microphone (not as easy to keep vocal clarity or deftly switch between hand and belt as you might expect!), and have spot on precision with harmonising and executing scintillating choreography (puns intended… sorry, not sorry!).
The choreography is a delightful combination of street dance, contemporary girl band routines and a nod to medieval dance moves. The harmonies are excellent, the band outstanding (adapting to the added challenge of click tracks to augment their onstage performances), and this is a tight-knit, slick production, with full credit to Director Alick Leech, Musical Director Martin Bennetts and Choreographer Jemma Conner.
Staged as a rock opera concert, also bearing in mind that Spot On Production staged Six: Teen Edition in the same run as The Who’s Tommy, the black open stage with raised levels and musicians in full view throughout is absolutely right and proper. The preshow soundtrack of contemporary music played with Tudoresque instrumentation is tantamount to how much deceptive diligence has gone into this production. The costumes (provided by Costume Solutions) are a close adaptation of the professional tour costumes, colour coordinated with the characters’ individual microphones and lighting for the soloist songs, and the band are also decked out in medieval outfits, with a modern twist. Martin Whitaker’s excellent lighting is reminiscent of a rock concert arena, while Mark Bourne’s sound effects are expertly timed to add an extra dimension to the ambience.
Some lyrics and underlying themes make this slightly uncomfortable to watch at times when performed by a youthful cast (would I have noticed with a more senior cast? I’m not sure…), but there is no doubt that these are powerful performances from each and every one of the sextet. Very occasionally their vocal upper range lacked a little power this afternoon, but this is being ultra picky and perhaps a warning to look after their voices for the future; I can understand why two teams are being used with twice daily performances over two days so as to avoid overexerting voices that are not yet fully matured.
Make no mistake, the standing ovation this afternoon was well deserved, and I am confident that Team Amethyst is equally as deserving when they take to the stage!
There are two further opportunities to catch Six: Teen Edition at The Point Eastleigh on Sunday 4 February (at 1:30pm and 4:30pm) – opportunities that should not be missed!
* Izzy Palmer (Catherine of Aragon), Alana Tonks (Anne Boleyn), Claudia Foster (Jane Seymour), Tara Alavi (Anna of Cleves), Amelia Gonzalez (Katherine Howard) and Liv Harder (Catherine Parr)