A musical adaptation of H.G. Well’s novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul, the story follows an over-worked orphan named Arthur Kipps. Working as a draper’s assistant in Folkestone, Kipps dreams of a better and more fulfilling life; but when he suddenly inherits a fortune, his life turns upside down. Kipps then navigates his new identity and faces new challenges. Moreover, his childhood friend Ann Pornick and a classy lady named Helen Walsingham are witnesses to his conflicts. The show’s score includes several of composer David Heneker’s songs from the original production. New songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe are featured as well.
Soon to be the longest-running West End transfer
Half a Sixpence first opened at the Chichester Festival theatre last summer before transferring to the West End. There it received positive reviews that resulted in the show extending its run two times. When it ends at the Noel Coward Theatre in September, the hit musical will be the longest-running West End transfer from the Chichester Festival Theatre since Singin’ in the Rain.
This West End production has launched the career of its leading man Charlie Stemp. His award-winning performance has likened to the show’s original star Tommy Steele. Prior to Half a Sixpence, Stemp starred in the international tour of Mamma Mia! and was part of the ensemble of Wicked at Apollo Victoria.
Joining Stemp is Ian Bartholomew as Chitterlow, who was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1991 for Into the Woods. His other theatre credits include Mrs Henderson Presents, Shakespeare in Love, and Tommy.
Devon-Elise Johnson plays as Ann Pornick. Johnson trained in London School of Musical Theatre and performed in other productions including the international tour of Mamma Mia!, as well as Saturday Night Fever and Spring Awakening. She also appeared in the film Somewhere Anywhere and TV movie Ahead of the Class.
Lastly, the sophisticated Helen Walsingham is played by Emma Williams. A member of The Theatrical Guild charity, Williams studied under Michael Hampshire, Sandra Whiteley, and at Valerie Jackson’s Stage 84 – The Yorkshire School of Performing Arts. She made her West End debut as Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, in which she won the Arts Correspondents’ Award for Best Newcomer.