We’re Six

We%27re+Six

Six is a British musical with book, music, and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The musical is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII presented as a pop concert, as each of the wives take turns singing and telling their story to see who suffered the most due to Henry and should, therefore, become the group’s lead singer.

 Catherine of Aragon starts off and recounts her marriage to Henry and later annulment, and almost being put into a nunnery when he began lusting after Anne Boleyn. When Aragon claims that she is the winner, the other Queens mention Anne and how she overlapped with Aragon during the former’s marriage and Anne recounts her time as Queen with Henry and her eventual execution. She then continues to argue that she deserves to win the competition due to her execution and further begins to sing a new solo ‘about the moment she found out Catherine of Aragon had ‘tragically died’. This attempted solo is interrupted by the other queens. Jane Seymour then announces it’s her turn to recount what she put up with, but the other Queens mock her for not having as much to deal with as, in her words, she was “the only one he truly loved”. Jane admits that while she may have been lucky for not having to suffer at his hand, she still stood by him throughout all his faults.

The story then shifts as the Queens are suddenly turned into members of Hans Holbein’s painting studio, talking about how they make the women he paints look beautiful for their portraits. In a set-up parodying Tinder, they present three women: Christina of Denmark, Amalia of Cleves, and Anna of Cleves, Amalia’s elder sister. When Henry “swipes right”, so to speak, on Anna, they all assume he will marry Anna and that they will have a happy, long-lasting marriage. Of course, their union is ultimately ill-fated as he rejects Anna, and she pretends to make a big deal about how she is then forced to live in a beautiful palace in Richmond as a result, though she’s not really complaining. After the Queens point out how Anna’s life doesn’t sound that difficult, Anna says “Oh, well, back to the palace”. As Katherine Howard is next to go, the Queens belittle her for being “the least relevant Catherine”, but Katherine retaliates by mentioning flaws in the other Queens’ reasons for winning, such as how Anne Boleyn wasn’t the only beheaded wife and how Jane Seymour only died due to natural causes. She then recounts her life and the men who abused her, leading into her marriage to Henry as she breaks down, fully realizing the trauma she suffered with her relationships and how these “all-powerful men” led to her eventual beheading.

As the Queens continue to squabble about who should win the contest, a frustrated Catherine Parr puts a stop to it. Questioning the point of it all, she brings up the fact that they’re remembered solely by their shared connection to Henry, not as individuals. When they refuse to listen, claiming she has no story to tell that involves Henry, Parr tells her story, and of the accomplishments she made independently of Henry. The other Queens, realizing that they’ve let themselves be defined by Henry for so long, stop the contest and declare that they don’t need his love to feel validated as people.

This is a musical that shows self love and making your own happily ever after. Six inspires people that even though life is not all sun shine and rainbows you can still make the best of it with your friends. Listen to Six!