There's something to be said for theatre as escapism, and as 2016 rolls towards a turbulent end we need musical comedy more than ever. That's not to trivialise the impressive work seen in this handsome revival of Half a Sixpence which has arrived in London as the latest in a long line of transfers from Chichester Festival Theatre.
Half a Sixpence
Cameron Mackintosh's sensational new stage version of the classic British musical Half a Sixpence explodes onto the West End stage following a universally acclaimed run at the Chichester Festival Theatre. This musical adaptation of H.G. Wells's semi- autobiographical novel 'Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul', is a completely fresh adaptation which reunites the Tony-nominated book-writer Julian Fellowes with British song-writing duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, following their previous international success on Mary Poppins.
Fellowes is most well known for creating the hit period drama Downton Abbey, and has previously collaborated on musicals such as School of Rock and the new British hit The Wind in the Willows, also co-written with Stiles and Drewe. Half a Sixpence features a memorable toe-tapping score which includes David Heneker's exhilarating songs from the original production, including 'Flash Bang Wallop', 'Money To Burn' and 'Half A Sixpence' which sit alongside a fantastic original score from two of the UK's leading musical theatre writers.
The Chichester production received a string of excellent notices from critics who called it "one of the undoubted hits of the year" (Standard), "a winner!" (Mail on Sunday) and "a genuine masterpiece" (The I), making it one of the most anticipated West End transfers of 2016.
Leading man Charlie Stemp redefines the role originally made famous by Tommy Steele, showing off his impressive singing, dancing and banjo playing that leads to multiple standing ovations at each performance. Stemp became on overnight sensation in the role, alongside the impressive cast of West End leading performers which also includes the Olivier Award nominees Ian Bartholomew and Emma Williams.
Charlie Stemp will not be performing in Half a Sixpence from 1st to 19th August.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh's string of West End successes extends from long-running hits such as Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon and Cats to exciting new musicals such as Betty Blue Eyes, Avenue Q and the upcoming London premiere of Hamilton.
Don't miss the West End transfer of Half a Sixpence, the most enjoyable show in town and a genuine hit British musical that will delight audiences both young and old.
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.