|Date||7th February 2020|
|Society||Cupar Amateur Musical Society|
|Venue||Cupar Corn Exchange|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Stuart Murray|
Author: Elizabeth Donald
This is an up dated version of Half a Sixpence and although it is many years since I saw it, I cannot say that I noticed much difference in the storyline although some of the music has been revised. It still has the memorable numbers Half a Sixpence, Flash Bang Wallop and If the Rain’s Got to Fall and all were well delivered here. The cast gave a polished performance maintaining the Upper Class and Cockney accents and along with set and costumes provided a clear division between the classes. The opening scene where the young couple express their love and share the sixpence was a tender one contrasting with the next in the draper’s shop where the discipline and ruthlessness of business life was clear. Likewise the friendly atmosphere of the pottery class jarred against the sophisticated rigidity and self interest of high society life. Such contrasts underlined throughout how the main character struggled with his changes in lifestyle. Coming into fortune was the overworked and innocent draper’s assistant Kipps played admirably by Andrew Doig who displayed through song and dialogue an optimism for a brighter future that was gradually clouded by the discomfort of social etiquette. It is an enormous role which he took in his stride. Lauren Smith as young girlfriend Ann showed her love for Kipps all along and had the audience sympathise with her as she was left behind. The poignancy of her solo ‘Long Ago’ was clear. Helen Knowles-Ventners as Helen Walsingham, Kipps’ new attraction, captured the sophistication and elegance of society with a kindly demeanour which Kipps found entrancing. Ruth Anderson successfully came across as the glamorous, grasping and socially-conscious mother Mrs Walsingham and Neil Jarrett as her son James, an appropriately slippery confidence trickster. Larger than life was Craig Spence in the role of Chitterlow likeably revelling in the role of fortune finder and exotic playwright. David Mitchinson made his mark as the authoritarian draper Mr Shalford while Raymond Young chameleon-like filled a range of minor roles. All were ably supported by family concern, draper assistants’ camaraderie and society ladies’ gentility. The orchestra had a good tone and complemented the singing. Lighting at first seemed to have the principals’ faces in the shade but this sorted itself in the course of the show. Costumes and scenery resonated the period and scene changes went smoothly. All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment.