Kipps - The New Half Sixpence Musical

Date 18th June 2022
Society St Annes Musical Productions
Venue Lowther Pavilion
Type of Production Musical
Director Steve Chesters
Musical Director Leanne Farrer
Choreographer Steve Chesters
Written By Jullian Fellowes

Report

Author: Jane Frohock

Kipps, the new updated stage version of ‘Half a Sixpence’ is based on H.G. Wells semi-autobiographical novel ‘Kipps’ and tells a story of Arthur Kipps, an orphan, working as a draper’s assistant at ‘Shalford’s Bazaar’ in Folkstone at the turn of the last century, whose life changes when he inherits money. Kipps tries to become part of the upper set, whilst trying to keep in touch with his old friends where he feels more comfortable. He seemingly forgets his childhood sweetheart Ann who carries the other ‘half of his sixpence’: becoming engaged instead to the wealthy Helen Walsingham. Kipps realises he doesn’t belong in this new world and that the girl who still carries her ‘half of the sixpence’ is the girl for him.

Steve Chesters created a wonderful show, in which all involved should be very proud of. The production was well cast, well rehearsed and a joy to watch.

The costumes were spot on for the period it was set in, such beautiful styles,colours and for someone who is partial to hats, they looked fantastic!

The lighting was used in a very clever way; creating atmosphere and difference between the scenes.

At first I was surprised how little set there was, but once the show was in full swing I quickly realised it did not need a huge set and the little bits that there were worked wonderfully. The set changes were done by the cast and some were done by the stage crew who looked the part in their costumes.
The sound was excellent; I had no problems hearing the dialog or lyrics when the cast was singing. I loved the soundscape of the seagulls when the story took place on the pier.

The Choreography was wonderful, simple and effective, playing to the strengths of the cast.

In regards to the cast, there were outstanding performances from many:
First and foremost was Jack Price who played the part of Arthur Kipps. His portrayal of Arthur was fantastic from beginning to end. He made this part his own and a great stage presence. His chemistry with Anne and Helen were totally believable and could see the internal struggles he had by which one to choose. He sang very well and in the number “Pick out a simple tune” played the banjo where his performance was well received.

Amelia Wilkins took on the role as Anne Pornick. She played Anne with such emotion that you could feel her heart breaking when the love of her life was going to be married to someone else. Her singing in “Long ago” took my breath away and was sung so beautifully you could hear a pin drop in the theater. A wonderful performance all round.

The rival to Anne was Helen Walsingham played by Emily Hobbs. She Played Helen with sophistication, elegency, and in such a way you could understand why Arthur would fall for her. She had great stage presence, great dictation and a beautiful singing voice

Helen's mother Mrs Walsingham was played by Rose Hayworth who gave a wonderful performance as a busybody who expected to be obeyed and wouldn't have it any other way. She had a lovely singing voice and a great comic presence which was perfectly delivered.

I particularly enjoyed the permonces of the 3 shop girls played by Charli Deveney, Anastasia Measures-Wardle and Kaitlin Hopcroft and the 3 shop boys played by Lewis James, Frazer Mundy and Lloyd Mitchell. Their chemistry worked well together and they portrayed their characters in a strong way. They sang well together and their harmonies were perfect. Well done to you all.

James Quine played the character Chitterlow. He played him with such gusto and bravado that when he was on stage his presence shone through. He was a very likable character and had some great songs that were full of life.

Matthew Wynn, Steve Hook and Karen Pearson played their roles very well and were integral to the story and the production. They all sang well and also had great stage presence.

The Orchestra were a joy to listen to and should be applauded for their wonderful work. They accompanied the singers very well and enhanced the whole production.

The one song that stood out from all the rest was “Pick out a simple tune”. The whole ensemble sang wonderfully and the dancing was a sight to behold. It was truly a rip roaring number which had me laughing when the guests started “dancing”. It was so funny!

Everyone who worked on this production should be very proud of what was accomplished as I know there were a few changes to the cast after the show was postponed due to Covid.

Thank you so much for inviting my guest and I to this production. I look forward to seeing more from StAMP in the future.