Rosie Waterland’s Six Things to Love About SIX
Beyoncé meets The Tudors in acclaimed musical SIX, the literal embodiment of ‘yaasss queen’.
It’s being called the ‘smash hit show of the summer’ in Sydney, and to be honest, even if it wasn’t, I’m not sure it’s possible for there to be a more accurate cross-section of my specific interests: Musicals. Juicy royal history. 90s-style girl group pop. Wine.
And, seeing as those four exact things are all I need to live a happy and satisfied life (well those and any of the Real Housewives franchises), I didn’t need to read all the five-star reviews to know that SIX was going to be my thing. But honestly, you don’t even need to share my flawless taste to get on board with this show. There were a bunch of dudes in the audience who looked like they’d come straight from the cricket and they were having more fun than anyone in the room. SIX literally has the power to get cricket bros in various versions of the same Cotton On t-shirt dancing to songs about Tudor women desperate for equality.
Here are six amazeballs things about SIX...
1. It’s a pop concert disguised as a musical
I am unashamedly a musical nerd, and when my sister had her first child, I ripped it from her arms and said I would not return it until I had moulded her into the next Patti LuPone (or at least Idina Menzel). I then made the mistake of making her first musical experience Les Misérables. An excellent production about poverty, despair and death in 19th century Paris. It didn’t really capture the heart (or remote interest) of my 12-year-old niece and she’s hated musicals ever since, which is my fault. I PICKED THE WRONG ENTRY POINT.
SIX is exactly what every musical nerd needs to get their non-musical peeps into musical theatre. It is basically a Beyoncé concert disguised as a musical. It’s fun, it’s contemporary and it breaks all the rules of what most people think a musical is. If I had taken my niece to see SIX before anything else, she would’ve been obsessed from the start, and I’d be the stage aunty I’ve always dreamed of.
2. It’s only 75 minutes
Six women. Six songs, plus a couple of big group numbers. Amazing costumes, incredible dancing and the same fun vibe of the Lizzo concert I was recently lucky enough to be blessed with tickets to. Bing bang boom. None of this 3-hour plus nonsense where you go into a dream state and consider escaping at interval. SIX is fast and fun. And considering you’ll be on your feet dancing the whole time, this is excellent news for people like me, who usually very much like sitting.
3. It’s a secret history lesson
Divorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived. It’s easy to forget that this is a whole show about the lives of the wives of King Henry VIII, perhaps the most famous king of the Tudor period, who literally invented a new religion because he was horny. No offence to my high school history teachers, but if you guys had made your lessons sound like Adele, the Spice Girls, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé all rolled into one, I may have been more into it.
4. It’s unashamedly feminist without being preachy
SIX has an undeniably feminist message — it explores why women of history are often only seen as the wives of important men, rather than important in their own right. But with Anne of Cleeves singing about being rejected on Tinder and Catherine of Aragon refusing to be ghosted, feminism in the show is approachable and fun. Seriously, those cricket bros I mentioned? They were laughing harder at the cheeky feminist barbs delivered by Anne Boelyn than anyone else. If a light delivery is what’s needed to sneak some feminist critique into the brains of sporty jocks, I’ll take it.
5. It’s fancy but chill
I think there’s often a misconception that events at the Sydney Opera House are stuffy, fancy affairs in which ties must be worn and monocles polished. That really isn’t the case, but especially not because SIX is performed in The Studio — the Opera House’s smallest and arguably most fun venue. There’s a bar in the room (cha ching!) and the stage and seating are set up almost like a local pub with live music. Chuck in a live band onstage, and it really is the best of both worlds — a fun, relaxed show at one of the world’s fanciest venues, right on the best harbour in the world. There’s also no shame in selfies, which a bunch of fun Tudor-themed stuff in the foyer to take photos with (LIKE A THRONE FIT FOR BEYONCÉ).
6. There's time to drink before. And after.
Did I mention the best harbour in the world? And the 75-minute running time? And the WINE? Get there early and have a drink inspired by SIX, then take the time afterwards to eat dinner in the shadow of the Harbour Bridge and the famous Opera House sails. Stream the SIX soundtrack on the car ride home and you’ve pretty much had the perfect night. EVEN THE JOCK CRICKET BROS THOUGHT SO.
Rosie Waterland is a comedian, author, television writer and actress.