Half A Sixpence by David Heneker & Beverley Cross after HGWells
Cameron Mackintosh/Chichester Festival Theatre co-production
Noel Coward Theatre, London
“a stonking riot of a musical”
This current reworking of the old classic musical, famously starring Tommy Steele on film, has been given a new lease of life by Cameron Mackintosh and the Chichester Festival Theatre by bringing in Julian Fellowes to rewrite the book and Stiles & Drewe to provide additional original songs. The result is a stonking riot of a musical which has taken the West End by storm and has made a star of leading man Charlie Stemp.
HG Wells’ original story was a semi autobiographical tale of his early beginnings in a haberdashery store.
This musical version takes that humble beginning and turns it into a sweet love story and a cautionary tale of the dangers of letting money turn your head.
On a warm Wednesday matinee the understudy, Sam O’Rourke, took the lead role of Arthur Kipps and made it his own. A fine singing voice was complimented by energetic dancing and a great stab at playing the banjo. This is a visual treat for the eyes as the cast swap costumes at the speed of light and the scenery twirls around as locations change form the fabric store to the bar to the various homes all in a twinkling of the eye. Add to this the beautiful back projections that conjure up sun, sea and scenery along the Kent coast. All of this set in the beautiful Matcham designed Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End.
This show is the perfect show to take your children and grandparents to, and anyone else in-between who appreciates lavish musical theatre.
Full details to book tickets on www.halfasixpence.co.uk
Review by: Paul Towers, 29/8/17
Half A Sixpence
Noel Coward Theatre,London
It is rare that I want to revisit a production so soon after my original viewing but being given the opportunity the return to the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre to see Charlie Stemp in the lead role during the very last week of the show’s London run was too good to miss.
Watching Stemp I felt I was witnessing the birth of a new musical theatre star. His balletic dancing skills perfectly compliment his comic timing and characterful singing voice. The perfect triple threat.
I had no complaints when I saw the understudy go on a couple of months ago but Stemp has made the role his own looking and sounding like a young Tommy Steele (the creator of the original role) but even more talented.
His energy seems to catapult the rest of the cast into even more energetic performances, leaving them all dripping with sweat by the end of the night. This boy will go far and I can’t wait to see where he goes next.