Friday, 29 September 2023

AMATEUR THEATRE REVIEW - Six - The George Lawton Hall, Mossley. Greater Manchester.


NK Theatre Arts have sadly been forced out of their theatrical home of the Forum Theatre in Romiley for the time being, and, with a full show ready to go, an alternative venue was needed pronto! Propitiously, Mossley's George Lawton Hall, not too far away, was available, and so the production moved there, lock, stock and barrel.

The stage setting was impressive for this, the teen edition of the hit punk rock concert-styled musical 'Six'. Flats indicating a castle to the rear, with steps, levels, and even a platform coming some way into the audience, whilst the four-piece band played lived on the rear platform. I loved the six steps centre which lit up with the name of the queen taking centre stage. 

The lighting was creative and worked well, giving us that music concert feeling throughout. My only concern here being that at times, it cast very large shadows on the auditorium walls. 

Costuming was excellent, consistent with the original concept of the show; as indeed was the choreography (Amy walker), and direction (Paul Wilson), with him imbuing the six queens with northern accents, and in some cases, a little northern comedy too!

The musical direction was by Ceri Graves, which again, was true to the original concept of this show, and the four-piece band were excellent... that is, when I was able to hear them! Unfortunately this evening the sound department had upped the levels to max and the George Lawton Hall was quaking and quivering under the reverberations and screeches. Yes, this musical is in the style of a punk rock concert, but no, it is NOT a punk rock concert.... it is a musical. We need to hear the music, not just noise, and more importantly, we need to hear the lyrics of the songs. No matter how good and talented the six young ladies were this evening, if their singing is obfuscated and muffled by too much amplification, their hard work has come to nothing sadly.

And they had worked extremely hard. These six teenagers understood this musical, their roles within it, and their characterisations implicitly. They worked together as an ensemble excellently, and of course, each of the six wives also gets at least one solo to shine in too. The show lasts for just over an hour, non-stop, and the style of singing that is required of the six necessitates much technique and training. I am not certain that all six this evening had the requisite voices for such a demanding show, but, they all coped with it adroitly, and their commitment to the show, dedication, enthusiasm, and high energy, compensated for this a thousand-fold.

There are two casts, taking it alternately to perform this show, and so obviously I can only write about the six teenage divas I saw this everning, all of whom deserve the highest praise. They were Beth Moran (Catherine of Aragon), Melia Finnigan (Anne Boleyn), Bronwyn Wilson (Jane Seymour), Olivia Barton (Anne of Cleves), Mia Pearce (Catherine Howard), and Mia Reilly (Catherine Parr). Together making the formidale sextet of Henry VIII 's six wives, each telling their stories to the audience, trying to garner sympathy and outdo each other for the audience's approbation.

It is a fun and rather tongue-in-cheek show, but is historically accurate nevertheless, and is understandably extremely popular with the younger female, as it portrays six very strong and independant female characters with not even the slightest glimpse of a man (or a king!).

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 28.9.23