To say that Cameron Mackintosh’s adaptation of H G Wells’ novel is a light-hearted, toe-tapping and fun show to see would be an understatement.
Director: Rachel Kavanaugh
Writer: Julian Fellowes
Lyrics: George Stiles, Anthony Drewe, David Heneker
Starring: Charlie Stemp, Devon-Elise Johnson, Emma Williams, Vivien Parry, Jane How, Gerard Carey, Ian Bartholomew
Theatre: Noel Coward Theatre, London
Ever since hearing Half a Sixpence would be coming to the West End I have wanted to see it and now I can say it is a fantastic production.
The story follows young Arthur Kipps who, after splitting a sixpence in half and gives one-half to his childhood crush Ann, moves away to become a tailor’s assistant.
Seven years later, Kipps finds out he has a large fortune and then his life takes a dramatic turn when he meets Helen Walshingham and he falls in love with her forgetting about Ann.
However he begins to see the reality of the new rich ‘friends’ and becomes in a love triangle after meeting up with Ann who is a maid in one of the households.
With a film adaptation back in 1967, some of the main songs were familiar with me when watching the show but there is nothing as good as watching people perform in the rarest forms.
After being shown the film as I was growing up the basic premise was known to me but during the show there were some parts and characters I completely forgot.
With an all-round brilliant cast, the highlight was watching Charlie Stemp in the leading role.
His ability to act as the young, naïve millionaire was brilliantly executed. He also managed to dance and sing without, what appears to be, a shed of nerves.
Stemp’s performance alone is a reason to see the production and the whole cast, which was considerably large compared to other West End shows, were perfectly suited to their roles.
Not only were the songs and acting more or less perfect, the set was quite creative using rotation platforms to change the setting or to add something to the scene.
The panels also helped make it look like the characters were walking around different parts of Folkstone – where the play is set.
Knowing Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes adapted H G Wells’ novel is already a reason to see the production.
Despite not winning any awards at the Olivier’s this year, the show definitely deserves much more recognition.
Half a Sixpence will leave you toe-tapping and humming one of the many ‘simple tunes’ long after the show has finished.
I would happily see the production again. Hopefully there will be live stage screening just like Mackintosh did with Miss Saigon – however we can only wait and see.