Exuberant celebration of girl power as Performing Arts students bring the sass to Six

Exuberant celebration of girl power as Performing Arts students bring the sass to Six

Remember your school history lessons and being taught about King Henry VIII and his six wives, chanting the ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived’ mantra?

Now this familiar tale has become a modern musical in the form of Six, where the Tudor Queens turn into Pop Princesses, claiming back the narrative and remixing 500 years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st Century girl power.

This loud and proud show – currently captivating audiences in the West End – was taken on by Performing Arts students at New City College Havering Sixth Form with a Teen Edition. And what an incredible job they did with it!

The six wives took to the stage to re-tell history – or ‘herstory’ – from their point of view in a high energy, sassy and funny performance, with a belting soundtrack to match.

Right from the start of the show, which is more like a concert than a play, the six wives commanded attention, bouncing off each other with superb comic timing, and coping with the fast-paced lyrics of the catchy songs.

Students from the college’s A Level Music course formed the live band to accompany the actors, creating the string and trumpet arrangements themselves. The band was excellent and were note perfect throughout.

First up to tell her tale was Catherine of Aragon, played by Esther Adewuyi. She had great stage presence and was bold and fierce, taking the role as a real badass monarch to another level with her powerful voice. She really gave it her all as she recounted through the song lyrics how she was discarded by Henry for failing to provide him with a son.

Next up was Anne Boleyn, played by pocket-sized Milly Garrard, who gave 110 per cent in portraying the fun-loving, chaotic queen who was finally beheaded. Her acting, dancing and vocal skills were showcased brilliantly and she stole the limelight with her one-liners.

Then there was Jane Seymour, played by Leila Said, a complete contrast to the zippy Anne and an altogether more calm, kind and sincere character who slowed the music down with a powerful ballard which showed off her range.

Anne of Cleves, a role shared by Shenai Morrison-Rose and Nina Kusi-Appiah, got the party started again with a high energy, rousing number which included the line ‘I’m the Queen of the Castle, get down you dirty rascal’ and the audience loved it! Anne enjoyed revelling in her riches once Henry divorced her and didn’t mind letting everyone know she was here for a good time!

Next came super smart and savvy Katherine Howard, shared by Androulla White and Ana Tatulescu. The dance routine was step perfect and her cheeky sense of humour was conveyed in some clever asides and interactions with the other wives.

The final wife, Catherine Parr, is thoughtful and warm and was perfectly portrayed by Raina Hajra whose voice was soft yet striking with a beautiful tone. She brought the wives together by being a champion of female empowerment and making them realise they do not need to be defined by a man – they each have their own story and should stick together.

The upbeat ending, with all Six singing and dancing in a vibrant group performance, was a brilliant finale which the band contributed to with some outstanding musicianship.

The show was directed and choreographed by the cast of Six with support from Performing Arts teacher Lisa Rogers.

The Band were:

Chris Donnelly – Musical Director and Keys 1

Ezekiel Zantua – Bass and Keys 2

Isabelle Manley – Drums

Elissa Vulpe – Violin

Gabriela Costin – Violin

Solveiga Urbanaviciute – Violin

Kristina Chapman – Violin

Thomas Hanford – Trumpet

Daniel Molina – Technical Director


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