Presenting Henry VIII's doomed wives as glammed-up pop stars in a TV-style talent quest might sound nonsensical, but the interpretation of their tragic 16th century lives into a modern cultural vernacular is done with such talent, wit and heart that it is hard to resist the spirit and message of SIX.
According to its producers, the musical "remixes the history" of the six queens - played by a diverse group of multi-talented local performers - who "take to the microphone to re-tell their stories and reclaim their HERstories, once and for all".
Exploding onto a game-show-type set in bejewelled high-heeled boots, fishnet stockings and outfits that blend a sci-fi ethos with Tudoresque details and pop diva bling, the performers draw the audience into the production's genre-bending premise with self-aware humour, killer vocals and a soundtrack that has become a huge hit in its own right.
Associate director Sharon Millerchip says when she started working on the show her teenage kids already knew all the songs - "a mash-up of pop, rock and rap styles" - which have had more than three billion TikTok views.
"The soundtrack has had massive appeal," she says. "Before the show was announced in Australia, the album was already a huge hit here with young people."
With tunes inspired by the music of stars Adele, Ariana Grande and Lily Allen, it is easy to see why.
The musical, which opened in Melbourne on June 23, won Tony awards for best original score and best musical costume design in New York two weeks earlier, and has picked up a swag of other gongs.
Written by Cambridge University students Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, it went from a 100-seat theatre in Scotland to a very successful season on the West End, followed by English and US tours.
Australian producer Louise Withers secured the rights soon after and SIX had its first run in Sydney in early 2020, returning in January this year after an enforced two-year hiatus.
While its dialogue and librettos are set, producers and performers of SIX are offered an unusual freedom of character interpretation, Millerchip says. Kala Gare's Anne Boleyn, for example, is "this sort of chillax bogan party girl, which is quite a departure from what's being played elsewhere, yet equally brilliant".
Millerchip says Australian musical theatre has been taking big steps both at home and abroad of late.
"We're getting much braver in putting our own stories and our own voices on stage," she says, with the use of Australian accents in SIX a case in point.
"Largely music theatre has been an imported art form from either America or the West End. I've spent 40 years ... speaking with an American accent or an English accent.
"These characters are born from who the performers are personally, as opposed to them just zipping on a costume and recreating the vision of somebody else. I think that has a real effect on why people engage so much with the performers on stage."