es, queens! Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s pop-feminist “histo-remix”, reclaiming Henry VIII’s wives as sassy, lung-bursting lady energy icons, is the primary musical to reopen within the West Finish, and it’s a smash. A wonderful, exuberant 75-minute blast, by turns massively sensible and massively foolish, this little Edinburgh fringe present from 2017 has turn into the largest cult hit since Rocky Horror. A switch from the 350-seat Arts Theatre to the 967-capacity Lyric to permit for social distancing has completed nothing to dampen the occasion environment within the auditorium. You go, women.
The setup is easy. Ranged in entrance of an all-female band, wearing glittery Tudor-Samurai videogame outfits, Catherine, Anne, Jane, Anne, Katherine and Catherine belt out group numbers about their shared expertise, then take turns on the mic to argue over who had the worst time with the fats, murderous, monastery-dissolving monarch. Finally, they realise they’re stronger collectively; and that if the patriarchy defines them as Henry’s wives, he’s equally pigeonholed as their husband. I by no means mentioned it was refined.
The format permits composer Marlow and his co-writer Moss – who additionally co-directs with Jamie Armitage –to skip by way of genres, from Jane Seymour’s yodelling energy ballad Coronary heart of Stone to the raunchy R&B of Anne of Cleves’s Get Down (now there’s a sentence I by no means anticipated to put in writing). Among the many group numbers, the completely sudden bierkeller techno of Haus of Holbein, sung by the corporate, made me snort out loud.
The lyrics are deliriously witty. “Tried to elope however the Pope mentioned nope,” trills Courtney Bowman’s flirty good-time lady Anne Boleyn. “Couldn’t wait any extra to get my corset on the ground,” smirks Sophie Isaacs’ slinky Katherine Howard, earlier than her track about being a plaything of highly effective males takes a flip for the solemn.
The voices are robust throughout the board, the band is tight, and one of many chief joys of the present is in watching six girls who look considerably extra various than the common West Finish lineup revel of their energy and charisma. Terrific enjoyable. Henry who?