by Foursight Theatre
Directed by the Piccolo Theatre cast
At Piccolo Theatre Evanston
Wild, manic depiction of Henry VIII’s wives is fun
What would happen if all six of 16th Century English King Henry VIII’s wives found themselves living together? That is the premise of Six Dead Queens now running at Evanston’s Picollo Theatre. This is a madcap comedy that swiftly moved for laughs during its 75 minutes. It had its moments but ultimately succumbs to vague historical references and silliness.
The show opens to a set with a large raked bed with and the sound of series of flatulent outbursts that makes all six ladies scatter. Sporting clown-like white faces and wearing wacky headdresses, the six queens converse, debate, even argue their place in the pecking order as wives of Henry VIII. Each lament not being able to give Henry a male heir to the English throne.
Told through a series of sketches, dances, sword fights, screaming arguments as well as a cabaret singing act with old English folk tunes, Sic Dead Queens is an actor’s showcase. Their is bitter sarcasm, witty banter and girl wrestling in this well staged comedy farce. Their are many historical references as we learn why all sic hated the boorish monarch.
All six ladies do yeomen work as each establishes their character’s persona. From Amy Gorelow’s Katherine of Aragon (the first queen) to Dani Bryant’s Anne Boleyn to Brianna Sloane’s Jane Seymour to Leeann Zaahrt’s Anna of cleaves to Nicole Keating’s Kathryn Howard to Denita Linnertz’s Cathernie Parr – all six work marvelously together to produce a polished, zany comedy show complete with six smart songs. Satire and whimsy with loads of shouting, moans and groans fuel this parody of British history.
The energy and stage craft of the performers far exceeded the material. Six Dead Queens is an historical comic fable/revue/cabaret act or something like that! If you crave wacky, this is for you.
At Piccolo Theatre in the Metra station, 600 Main Street, Evanston, IL, call (847) 424-0089, (847) 424-0089, tickets $25, Friday & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 75 minutes without intermission.