Noel Coward Theatre – currently booking until Feb 11th Buy tickets here
Half a Sixpence | Review
Sometimes, a musical comes along that changes the way you look at theatre and makes you realise that there is still magic left in the West End. Half A Sixpence is one of those shows. From Julian Fellowes, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, this semi-autobiographical story, based on H.G. Wells novel Kipps is a sweet and harmless story full of absolutely fantastic music.
Arthur Kipps (Charlie Stemp) is a simple soul, best friends with Ann (Devon-Elise Johnson). Childhood sweethearts, when Charlie leaves for the big city (Folkestone), he gives Ann half a Sixpence to ensure she doesn’t forget him. Fast forward seven years and he’s forgotten her, mooning over Helen Walsingham (Emma Williams), one of his customers who is ‘slightly’ out of his league.
When Arthur strikes it lucky he finally has a chance with Helen, but when Ann comes back into his life, who will he choose?
It is a predictable storyline, but for once it doesn’t matter. The ensemble numbers are upbeat and fun, particularly Money to Burn, Pick Out A Simple Tune and Flash, Bang, Wallop. The audience cannot help but tap their toes and move with the music, grinning madly as they watch this fabulous piece of theatre unfold.
The set is stunning, with beautiful sea views, pillars, and even a traditional English pub. There is also plenty of banjo playing, although perhaps not as much as in the original. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and anyone who is expecting this will not be disappointed.
The cast is absolutely fantastic. Considering it is the West End debut of both Johnson and Stemp, their chemistry is delightful to see and they bounce off each other really well. Williams provides a good contrast to Johnson and despite her role as the ‘posh enemy’ manages to arouse pathos.
It’s fun, fast-paced, funny and feel-good – the best musical revival I have seen in a long time.
Reviewer : Michaela Clement-Hayes
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