The excitement in the Grand Opera House on Wednesday 6th October 2021 will go down in history.
After 18 months of shut down, a complete refit in the auditorium, new comfortable seats, good sound system and a great show, the musical SIX burst onto the stage and took the place by storm. When there a was shout “Hello Belfast,” I tell you no lie when I say the roof almost lifted off!
There were two shows going on at the same time, one on the stage and the other in the auditorium. On stage are six women portraying the wives of Henry Vlll, and along with an all female band, each puts the case for the title of top dog. The old rhyme ‘divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived’ is an aide- mémoire for school children and useful when it comes to GCSEs as one Queen put it, adding “This isn’t so much history, more herstory!”
In the audience theatre goers respond to the cast, groaning with the sadnesses, clapping and cheering with the good news, totally invested to the last minute with a spontaneous standing ovation.
Catherine Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jame Seymour Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Catherine Parr each come forward to plead their case and their stories are told in non-stop song and dance, and despite the competition, it’s difficult to select one particular queen, they all have their attractions.
The costumes are breathtaking and their sparkling boots something to be envied, congratulations to costume designer Gabriella Slade. The stage is bright, the band play in sight and the centre stage is taken up with some great choreography; sexy and energetic. Lighting too heightens the atmosphere.
It’s interesting how the character of each wife comes through such is the skill of the actresses, Catherine of Aragon (Lauren Drew) a serious woman married 24 years who died a natural death, the sexy naughty Anne Boleyn (Maddison Bulleyment) executed on Tower Green, Jane Seymour (Caitlin Tipping) died giving birth to the future King Edward Vl, Anne of Cleves (Shekinah McFarlane) marriage annulled soon after it happened thanks to Henry’s inability to satisfy, the unfaithful Katherine Howard (Vicki Manser) also executed on Tower Green and finally Catherine Parr (Elena Gyasi) who had four marriages, Henry was number three and, when he died, she married the love of her life Thomas Seymour, she is remembered for surviving Henry.
The moral is, there’s no individual winner in this story, they are one unit of feminine glory who succeeded in ensuring that Henry is only remembered as a king with six wives! Half a dozen of the best.
A great night in superb surroundings.
Grand Opera House
Until Sunday 10th October 2021
Friday and Saturday 8 p.m
Saturday and Sunday 5 pm.
Sunday 1 p.m.
Box Office 02890241919