STAGE REVIEW: SIX at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, from Tuesday, October 29 to Sunday, November 3, 2019.

FIVE Olivier award nominations, including Best New Musical, clearly has this show marked down as special and… it clearly is.

Eat your hearts out Spice Girls, speak more softly and among yourselves Girls Aloud and move over for these merry and mesmeric wives of Windsor who are are top drawer as they recount their tales of divorce, beheading and staying alive!

The six queens, all married to Henry VIII - well, for a time at least, confidently deliver, or rather, belt out, a most modern series of songs that would successfully furnish a Beyonce or Rhianna concert.

If there is a drawback it’s that it is more of a music concert than a straightforward musical which sticks to the tried and tested formula of the likes of The Phantom of the Opera, Blood Brothers or say, Les Miserables, although the songs do give a little insight into the lives of the madames Aragon, Boleyn, Seymour, Cleves, Howard and Parr with what is clearly an unorthodox approach to history.

Their’s a sisterly and sassy attitude which comes in bunches from all the Tudor wives played by Lauren Drew, Maddison Bulleyment, Lauren Byrne, Shekinah McFarlane, Jodie Steele and Athena Collins.

The sextet add some spice to history in a kind of Britain’s Got Talent competition - attempting to outdo the other in their downfall had their lives and paths had crossed.

It’s poppy, bitter, dynamic, with other genres thrown into the mix such as soul, and offers a couple of stand-out numbers such as the hauntingly melancholic ballad, Heart of Stone, delivered by Byrne’s Jane Seymour.

History lessons were never quite like this at school. If only they had been!

All would have been entertaining, even enthralling in the sixth form and I would think far higher grade marks would have been achieved.

Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’ efforts in getting a normally reserved Malvern audience to its feet, although there was a much younger element there, clearly shows their songs have hit the right button, ably assisted by an all-female backing band.

Short, sweet and simple at a mere 75 minutes duration there’s not a moment to snooze, not that you could or would want to. Just let the music and the whole spectacle take you along and absorb you.