Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Divorced, Beheaded and Live in the West End

When six Queens make an entrance you know it is going to be good if the Queens are all ex-wives with something to say. They did not disappoint; when they came on to the stage and sung about being Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived, we knew this was the Royal Six and that we were in for a good time, writes Michael Holland.

Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anna, Katherine and yet another Catherine introduced themselves in an upbeat, rock number accompanied by Lauren, Alice, Amy and Rachel in the band. They explained that they would be telling their stories and amending the history we were taught in school to herstories. The Queens would be giving us a fresh perspective without any male agenda behind it. And I must say it was refreshing to hear, and much more believable.

The songs by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss are fantastic and cover just about every pop genre, treating us to Funk, R&B, Soul, Euro-Pop, Techno and a nice bit of Lily Allen dropped in for good measure. The lyrics are hilarious in places, and equally poignant in others.

The wives of Henry VIII did not lead happy lives but Marlow and Moss have given each of them a voice, a 21st century update to make them the main focus of those turbulent years and not just one of six – a mere backdrop to Henry’s strutting. They now do the strutting as they hip-thrust their stuff around the stage and tell us what really went down. 

Catherine of Aragon was running the country as Regent when Aitch was away fighting in France; Anne Boleyn translated when French Emperors came calling; Katherine Howard was sexually assaulted by Palace staff while still a teen, which gave Henry cause to have her head chopped off, and Catherine Parr was the first woman in England to publish a book under her own name. Legends all.

And it is that historical perspective that gives these six confident woman the power to provide audiences with a raunchy show of the highest order. They are not just Henry’s wives, they are the SIX.

Each one combines a tremendous voice with moves to match in a hi-energy, non-stop 80 minute performance that ticks every box on the Entertainment Checklist.

But perhaps the greatest story to be told here is that Marlow and Moss wrote SIX in three days for a student show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Vaudeville Theatre, 404 Strand, London, WC2R 0NH. Times: Tues – Sat 8pm; Sun: 4pm, 7pm. Admission: £19.50 – £67.50

Booking: 0330 333 4814 –

Photos: Pamela Raith.


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