Anywho. When I was first introduced to it, conceptually, I was deeply skeptical. It seemed like a wannabe Hamilton at best, and a garish, misinterpretation of history at worst (and most plausible). It seemed like a tragedy waiting to happen.
But I quickly warmed up to it. The songs are hella catchy. And it's SUPER punny, in the best and worst ways.
So, I took a closer look.
While it is certainly Plot Lite-tm, and there are aspects were the interpretations of the Wives' characters misses the mark but a fair bit, I think it does something uniquely fascinating in terms of remixing History to be seen through modern lenses -- more than seen, it spins the bones of the Wives' stories into something that young, modern audience can viscerally feel.
It takes the most core aspects, and the vague sense, of the Wives and threads it through a 2010's candy pop revolution. Each wife is essentially a mash-up of her own self with a hyper-famous popstar of the modern era, with both their songs and costumes making direct reference to both the Wives' original contexts and to the popstars' revised history.
It takes the stalwart dignity of Catherine of Aragon and makes it into Beyoncé's steadfast, self-assured bulldozing. It takes Anne Boleyn's brash aggression and translates it to the bratty, self-centered inconsiderateness of Avril Lavigne's F!ck the Rules dramatics. Anne of Cleaves's glorious wit and self-possession is spun through Nicki Minaj's hyper-brash independence and assertiveness. And the tragedy of Katherine Howard's confused innocence in playing the games of grown ups gets filtered through the biting, pervasive, inconsolably vile parallel of Brittany Spears's hellish strife...
The characters are not historically accurate to their contexts, but, for the most part, I feel that the contexts of their struggles are historically accurate to the 2010's. It takes the particularly firmly-rooted context of the characters and transposes them into an equally solid and temporally rooted context. It's not accurate to the facts, but I feel that it's someone even more true to the spirit of the struggles because of that inaccuracy.
My mum doesn't agree. At all. She adores the Wives' (and is a staunch believer in the concept of context IS character) ((and she's utterly baffled by the concept of a 'modern AU' as being an accepted trope of modern literature))... So she started out excited at the concept and ended up utterly pissed at the flippancy.
Mum does have some very valid criticisms.
Even I can admit that calling it Plot Lite-tm is actually a deeply over-generous assessment of the plot's non-existence. And I definitely dislike how Jane Seymour isn't shown as an active schemer (she was aggressively attempting to sway Henry from Anne, after all, she wasn't just a shrinking violet with genuine love for Henry). And Catherine Parr was also scheming, and very effectively so as she served more as Henry's hospice nurse than as his wife (rather than how SIX portrays her as feeling any kind of genuine affection for Henry).
But still, I feel like my favorites were done well, with their base personalities given room to bubble up with Gen Z humor and heavily staged TikTok vibes.
(Well, Anne of Cleaves became his Sister, she didn't get divorced, and it was an absolutely brilliant move that she managed to pull off under her own power, which wasn't really presented at all... And the reason Henry didn't like wasn't due to her looks, but because she didn't understand the game of Courtly courting (he snuck into her room, disguised, and she didn't let him kiss her 'because she could see though the disguise and knew her true love', which pissed Henry off like someone showing up to a freshman frat party with a cop as their +1) but still, Anna's track is hella catchy and it did show off her self-possession and utter competence, so I'm mostly okay with it.)
It does the opposite of Hamilton, rather than attempting to cover a factually true-to-life History in its full context with a modern lens to view it under, Six takes snippets of well-understood, deeply personal modern stories, and slips them backward in time to re-frame an audience's interpretation of the dramatics of History.
In short I LOVED it.
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(If the embed doesn't work, here's the LINK !)