Six at Chichester Festival Theatre: REVIEW - this is how the six wives of Henry VIII wowed a full house

Six – the story of Henry VIII’s six wives – returns to Chichester Festival Theatre. It’s a musical extravaganza which had the packed house cheering for more.
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Henry VIII was the Tudor king who changed the face of England. He initiated the English Reformation by severing ties between Rome and the Church of England. He laid the foundations for the modern navy. But would he had stood out from the seven Henry’s that came before him had it not been for his six wives?

In this iconic musical, King Henry doesn’t even make an appearance. This is all about the six women who defined his reign and secured his place in history – or should that be her-story, as one of them points out.

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It’s not difficult to remember the fate of the six. As any school pupil can recite – ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died … Divorced, Beheaded, Survived’. Henry had the decency to ensure that future students would get that question right by disposing of his royal spouses in the form of a mnemonic.

Six - the six wives of Henry VIIISix - the six wives of Henry VIII
Six - the six wives of Henry VIII

If their lives ended brutally or tragically, there is nothing sad about this production. It is a thoroughly modern interpretation of their lives and deaths told through the magic of music, song, dance and dazzling costumes. They ask the audience which of them was the best – and they then compete for top place. But this is not a contest, 500 years on it gives a voice to women.

This is not a long show – but it packs a powerful punch none the less. Like the six, it is fun, powerful and absolutely gorgeous.