First presented at Chichester’s Festival Theatre, last summer’s hit Half A Sixpence will play its final performance in London on Saturday 2 September, having extended its limited season twice.
Acclaimed by audiences and critics as a dazzling reinvention of the original musical and winning plaudits for both production and cast, the role of Arthur Kipps, which made Tommy Steele a star 54 years ago, has now well and truly launched the career of newcomer Charlie Stemp with his sensational award-winning performance. When the show ends its run at the Noël Coward Theatre it will be the longest running West End transfer from the Chichester Festival Theatre since “Singin’ in the Rain”.
This new stage version of “HALF A SIXPENCE”, the musical adaptation of H.G. Wells’s semi- autobiographical novel ‘Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul’, is a completely fresh adaptation which reunites book-writer Julian Fellowes (Oscar-winning screenwriter and creator of Downton Abbey) with George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the musical team that co-creator Cameron Mackintosh first put together to create the hit stage adaptation of “Mary Poppins” with Disney. The score is inspired by and features several of composer David Heneker’s exhilarating songs from the original production, including ‘Flash Bang Wallop’, ‘Money To Burn’ and ‘Half A Sixpence’.
Arthur Kipps, an orphan and over-worked draper’s assistant at the turn of the last century, unexpectedly inherits a fortune that propels him into high society. His childhood companion, Ann Pornick, watches with dismay as Arthur is made over in a new image by the beautiful and classy Helen Walsingham. Both young women undoubtedly love Arthur – but which of them should he listen to? With the help of his friends, Arthur learns that if you want to have the chance of living the right life, you need to make the right choices.
Half A Sixpence will finish its West End run at the Noel Coward Theatre on 2 September 2017. It truly is a joyous musical that will leave you dancing to the infectious tunes like Pick Out A Simple Tune and Flash, Bang, Wallop.
Photo: Manuel Harlan