Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived!
Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Mar 22nd 2022
Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived! Six Queens and six different outcomes. History was always so bland and frankly boringly taught when I was at school.
Not tonight though! Brought vividly to “life” again by a wonderfully in your face cast we thundered through a potted history of Henry’s six Queens namely Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleaves, Catherine Howard & Catherine Parr. Now this was not your typical theatre musical, no this was very much like a full on Girl Power staged concert.
I seem to remember that this show was first brought very simply to the stage as part of the Edinburgh Fringe a few years ago. Tonight’s production was a full on lights blazing, sound blasting, sequinned costume & dance dazzling glorious event. The music ranged from Pop through, Disco, Hip-Hop on to Trance all underscored by just an odd touch of Medieval tuneage and I loved it all.
The score by creators Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss with choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille simply bubbles with energy from the get-go Six with some very clever lyrics referencing the Tudor Von Trapp’s, Royalling Stones, Shakesy P sets the tone and the references to history flows throughout.
Each of the “ghost Queens” then sets out her case and story for being the most tragic of the six in the form of a musical sparring competition. This was where I was completely captivated because all six of the cast is wonderfully talented vocally. They were absolutely on key individually for sure however, when they combined, their harmonies were to die for (sorry about that). In order of their succession a big shout out to Chloe Hart, Jennifer Caldwell, Casey Al-Shaqsy, Aiesha Naomi Pease, Jaina Brock-Patel and Alana M Robinson.
As an audience member you can tell sometimes if a cast are weary of their roles or perhaps just off colour however this sextet were at the top of their collective games. Supported by their four Ladies In Waiting, a nice touch incidentally, (aka known as the on stage band) we were treated to eighty minutes of full on clever songs which, whilst never being preachy or too belittling of the outrageously misogynistic non MeToo of the period 1509-1547, oozed energy.
The show does its very best at attempting to put some flesh and character on the bones of these six very individual women. They were exactly that, six women forever doomed to be almost a footnote on the page of history as a Henry wife. Will it make a change to the way they are viewed? Well frankly no not really but, nearly seven hundred years on, hopefully we have moved on at least a bit with empowerment and equality issues and can remember them for who they were...Six dazzling Queens.
As an old rocker I really enjoyed my trip into Girls Aloud, Little Mix and Spice Girls territory for my dose of Horrible Histories meets Girl Power. Grab a ticket whilst you can for a belter of an evening. Don’t miss it, as you will have a great time.