Half a Sixpence

Date 30th October 2014
Society Nottingham West Music & Drama Society
Venue Kimberly School
Type of Production Musical
Director Gillian Williams
Musical Director John Wilson
Choreographer Various


Author: Matt Fry

NOWMADS presented Half A Sixpence at Kimberly School, Notts. A well-loved musical adaptation of H.G. Wells’ Kipps: A Story of a Simple Soul (1905), Half a Sixpence tells the story of Arthur Kipps, an orphan boy whose journey from rags-to-riches brings many life lessons, laughs, and tears along the way.

This was an entertaining, light hearted production that was most gratifying. The direction, provided by Gillian Williams had strong moments, especially in terms of spatial awareness, harnessing and utilising the area available. The chorography was energetic and catered to the various abilities of those onstage (perhaps would have benefitted from a more definite and confident direction in lieu of the consortium approach). Of particular highlight was the musical direction provided by John Wilson; a huge asset to this production.  The strong, unified teamwork of the live band created an excellent guiding force for those onstage and was consistently excellent.

Thomas Bailey (who was on stage for the most part) gave a confident performance as Kipps, managing to juggle the comedic with the sentimental nuances that are essential for the character of Kipps.  His leading lady, Rachel Bailey, in the role of Anne, was a wonderful accompaniment to Thomas’s Kipps, likewise successful in her balancing of comedy and drama.  The two actors, who were the focal point of the show, complemented each other well during the performance, and were well supported by the animation and enthusiasm of the ensemble.  The supporting cast as a whole delivered a feel-good atmosphere fully appreciated by the audience and most notable during the big musical numbers, such as “Flash, Bang, Wallop! (What a Picture)”.

The set was simple, yet well devised and well-constructed for a musical that involves a variety of settings ranging from basic (the shop) to grandiose (outside for the cricket match); helping to maintain continuous action with little disruption between scene-changes. Costumes were generally well-sourced (bar a couple of historical inconstancies) though at times under in certain lights/areas, the stage make-up seemed to need a bit of improvement.  In terms of the technical elements, sound and lighting control were very well-handled and enhanced the overall production; most impressive for such a restrictive venue.

The key feature evident from this production was NOWMADS’ ethos.  It is a clearly group formed of members who enjoy performing and entertaining; a spirit that seems to be the main impetus for its shows.  It is something that is a pleasure to see and to be a part of, and something that was undoubtedly apparent to all of the audience.

From all at NODA Nottingham, we thank you for your hospitality. Keep up the good work and we look forward to seeing your Pantomime production in the New Year.

Show Report by Matt Fry

NODA Nottingham, District 3, East Midlands Region