Before the pandemic! ‘Six’ the musical in Sydney

In a time when international travel is off the radar I’m finding an increasing number of my friends posts on social media are nostalgically looking back on holidays from the past. One of our last trips overseas was in February this year, just before the pandemic forced borders around the world to close. We travelled from Wellington to Sydney to see ‘Six the Musical‘ – The West End’s poptastic musical about Henry VIII’s wives.

 If every girl group of the ‘90s and early 2000s were as charismatic and sang as well as the Australian cast of Six, the history of pop music would be drastically different. The six women leading this frequently funny and ferocious pop musical from UK writers Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss are magnificently talented and a step above most of the popstars they draw inspiration from.

But it’s that style of pop that’s the driving force of Six, which brings all of Henry VIII’s wives to the stage in a singing competition to decide who had the worst time with the Tudor king. The pop queens intend to ask their audience to vote for their fave.

(Ref. Six the Musical review, by Ben Neutze, 10 January 2020, TimeOut Sydney)

Our two younger daughters developed a great affection for the musical and when we saw that it was coming to Sydney, Australia they were really keen to see it.

Flying into Sydney, February 2020

We booked tickets in 2019, gifting them to our daughters as a Christmas/Birthday present (not long after ‘Six’ announced they were going to do shows in New Zealand – and we were kicking ourselves for spending up on an overseas trip to see the show… little did we know that a global pandemic would change everything and by April 2020 we were wrapped that we’d got to see the show, since the pandemic was sadly closing theatres around the world).

Before the show excitement!

We hadn’t planned much for our weekend away, other than the show itself, which was AMAZING! We’d booked front row tickets, which turned out to be a brilliant choice for the venue. The stage was less than a metre from where we sat and not too high, so we didn’t have to crane our necks. The performers were so engaging that we felt entranced throughout every second of the show. Our daughters were totally pumped with the performance and our 14 year old was blown away that one of the performers borrowed her phone to take a little selfie video at the end! It really was worth the hype and the catchy songs continue to be sung with great enthusiasm in our home.

The rest of the weekend we simply went with the flow.

Sophie going with the flow!

We’d visited Sydney a couple of years earlier (which I’d mentioned in a blog post in March 2017) and enjoyed seeing many of the sights, so we were content to just enjoy being there on this occasion. I have a few old friends, from school and Uni days, that have made their home in Sydney and it was wonderful to connect with a friend from my college days, as well as a Uni pal – both of them coincidentally live in Manly – which is an easy ferry ride from the centre of Sydney and a lovely place to visit – with its gorgeous surf beach and bush walks on North Head.

Manly Wharf

Manly’s surf beach

Riding the ferry over to Manly

Whilst I enjoyed chatting, my daughters had a great time in the surf. I wished we could have spent longer and would definitely enjoy a longer stay in Manly (when this pandemic is over!) to explore the trails of North Head more – my Uni pal, Henry, has set up an awesome app for runners, ‘RunHunters‘ with trails dotted over Australia, New Zealand and beyond, along with great blog posts of destination inspiration, trail collections and tips to fuel exploration appetites. Having not seen Henry in many years it was wonderful to catch up and also a surprise to hear that he was visiting Wellington, New Zealand, later in February! I ended up meeting up with him and taking him on a trail run in beautiful Makara, a much loved venue in the Wellington Xterra series, which I ran in 2018 and blogged about here.

Surf beach at Manly

My other friend was someone I’d spent some happy times with at my sixth form college in England (from the age of 16 to 18) – we reminisced on those days, and chatted about how difficult it sometimes is to live so far away from our family in England – with our hearts forever in two places. Like me, she has three children and her husband is also English, so there are a lot of people we both miss, whilst trying to keep focused on our daily lives and the happiness of our children. It was so wonderful to chat with someone in the same boat, as well as savour all the memories of our younger years!

Catching up with a friend over drinks in Manly

On the Sunday we decided to take a stroll through the beautiful Botanic Garden of Sydney.

Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Botanic Garden

Strolling around the amazing gardens in Sydney.

Taking a moment to relax whilst walking around the gardens.

We were delighted to come across a great exhibition on Carnivorous plants at The Calyx ‘Plants with Bite‘.

The Calyx, Sydney Botanic Garden

Plants with Bite!

Sophie and Alice learning about the fascinating world of carnivorous plants!

Stunning display at The Calyx, Sydney Botanic Garden

Lush!

Bite Me!

We were also enthralled by an exhibition in the art gallery ‘Japan supernatural‘. Our youngest daughter is an enthusiastic artist and we’d enjoyed an amazing holiday in Japan in January 2019, so the exhibition was of great interest to us all.

Japan Supernatural, ghosts, goblins and monsters 1700s to now

Dan admiring the incredible work by Takashi Murakami, ‘In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow’, 2014.

Alice in front of the Embodiment of ‘Um’ (2014) by Takashi Murakami

All up it was a wonderful weekend away, rich in entertainment, art, nature and time with friends – plus the view from our accommodation was amazing!

Night scene from our hotel

Fireworks over Darling Harbour

Looking down from our hotel window.

It seems this pandemic is likely to keep us in New Zealand for a while yet, as I can’t see borders opening until well into 2021, possibly longer, so it’s time to treasure the memories of trips like this and make the most of everything we have to enjoy in beautiful Aotearoa.