The king is useless; long reside his queens.
Savvy, feisty and tuneful in bestowing belated energy and voice to the six wives of Henry VIII, “Six” bedazzles.
The electrifying nationwide tour of the 2022 musical, which opened Jan. 24 to a sold-out crowd at the Ohio Theatre, recasts one of many bloodier royal eras into a contemporary feminist ode to six much-abused ladies.
Fans of today’s touring-concert spectacles especially can get pleasure from this currently-hot Broadway hit even when they’ve scant interest in British history.
As a pointy 80-minute one-act without much plot or depth of characterization, “Six” makes virtues of its limitations by well-calibrating the period of its reign over the audience.
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Surprisingly, given how virtually all of the wives end up divorced, beheaded or in any other case useless, “Six” finally ends up being plenty of fun. Not that the six wives, exuberantly played by performers wanting to high each other in concert-style competition, don’t make ruefully clear their tales of suffering.
British co-creators Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss cleverly lace their revisionist reinterpretations throughout the fast-paced present, however they don’t let polemics get in the means in which of entertainment.
Buoyed by the tight script, Tony-winning pop-rock score, glittering design, various casting and high-energy atmosphere, the six leading women come alive as one way or the other each traumatized historical figures and trendy pop divas.
Co-directors Moss and Jamie Armitage knit collectively the fizzy, bickering and amusing ensemble while each Tudor queen tackles a powerhouse solo loosely inspired by a special pop diva.
Commanding and in management from the get-go, Khaila Wilcoxon struts her appreciable stuff as Catherine of Aragon, Henry’s first wife. Wilcoxon takes the lead in introducing the present and its girl-power concept whereas belting out “No Way” with Shakira-level conviction.
Cassie Silva (replacing Storm Lever) plays Anne Boleyn with snarky allure and sarcastic humor. Before and after her passionate rendition of “Don’t Lose Ur Head,” Silva interrupts different wives with frequent reminders of her well-known beheading.
As Jane Seymour, Henry’s third and beloved wife, Jasmine Forsberg invests deep emotionality into soaring vocals for “Heart of Stone,” a soulful Adele-style anthem of constancy and devotion.
Channeling Nicki Minaj and Rihanna as childless Anna of Cleves, Olivia Donalson joyously sustains the peppy rhythms of “Get Down.”
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As “unchaste” however childless Katherine Howard, Henry’s executed fifth wife, Didi Romero revels in the naughty humor and seductive exhibitionism of the Britney-Spears-style “All You Wanna Do.”
In a refreshing down-shift of pace and tone, Gabriela Carrillo connects to the humanity, grief and gratitude in Catherine Parr, Henry’s surviving sixth wife.
Her Alicia-Keys-style “I Don’t Need Your Love” turns into an anthem for all six wives about the power of alternative as they recast history into “her-story.”
Backed by the 4 hard-driving girls of the onstage band, amplified by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille’s deft choreography and strikingly embodied in Gabriela Slade’s Tony-winning costumes of period armor and royal flash, the well-knit cast develops vivid personalities by way of sound, motion and image.
Together, the 10 women onstage sustain a manufacturing so filled with sass and power that they might energize an evening twice as lengthy.
Virtually the seventh major character, the audience performs a bigger role in “Six” than most musicals – so be prepared to clap alongside.
Although clapping and cheering are encouraged, these performers deserve it unasked.
“Six,” offered out, continues by way of Jan. 29 on the Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St. (cbusarts.com).