The New Half a Sixpence Musical 29 May 2023 - 2 Jun 2023

Presented by BROS Theatre Company 

FLASH, BANG, WALLOP! BROS Theatre Company presents Kipps: The New Half a Sixpence Musical this May – a fresh, fun and energetic romp set against the backdrop of a turn-of-the-century seaside town. 

In a timeless story of money, class and love, we meet Arthur Kipps, an orphan and over-worked draper’s assistant at Shalford’s Bazaar in Folkestone in the early 1900s. He is a charming but ordinary young man who, along with his fellow apprentices, dreams of a better and more fulfilling life. When he unexpectedly inherits a fortune that propels him into high society, it confuses everything he thought he knew.  

As well as delivering classic numbers from the original stage show, Kipps revisits H.G. Wells’ semi-autobiographical novel to refresh the story for a modern-day audience and highlight some of the important social changes going on at the time. 

The result is an infectious, joyous journey, filled with musical favourites such as ‘Rain’s Got To Fall’ and the riotous ‘Flash, Bang, Wallop’ as well as new, boardwalk-tapping numbers. A timeless yet contemporary production perfect for all the family and guaranteed to leave you smiling all the way home.  

BROS Theatre Company by arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh presents KIPPS THE NEW HALF A SIXPENCE MUSICAL Based on the H.G. Wells novel "KIPPS: The Story of a Simple Soul" and the original musical by Beverley Cross and David Heneker Original Songs by David Heneker Book by Julian Fellowes New Music and Lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe Orchestrations by William David Brohn Co-Created by Cameron Mackintosh.

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe)
All authorised performance materials are also supplied by MTI Europe 

Review by Jenni Balow

by Jenni Balow

This ain't half good, a real flash, bang, wallop of a triumphantly feelgood musical for the school holidays, during a sunshine-filled week at the Minack.

Kipps The New Half A Sixpence Musical that has been revived and refreshed since singer Tommy Steele made it famous 60 years ago, is presented by BROS Theatre Company from south west London, and they don't do things by halves.

There to watch it on the opening night was television gardener, novelist and company patron Alan Titchmarsh and his wife Alison, who first met at an original BROS production of the show in Richmond, half a century ago.

The musical is based on a book published by H. G. Wells in 1905, called Kipps:The Story of A Simple Soul, but there is nothing simple about this production directed by Deb McDowell, that is gloriously costumed by Mags Wrightson and Terrie Cresswell and team, in a stunning array of colours and Edwardian hats and frippery.

Just as there was 60 years ago, there is one stand-out star of this production, the ever-exuberant Tom Nunan, as Kipps, who snappily leads the cast through paces impeccably rehearsed by choreographer Jen Moorhead. He is in his element with a banjo-led knees-up to Pick Up A Simple Tune.

The new music and lyrics are by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, with orchestrations by William David Brohn, co-created by Cameron Mackintosh, with story revival by Julian Fellowes.

Musical director is Janet Simpson with a super on-stage band that is joined by the Minack's executive director Zoe Curnow on double bass, playing alongside Tom Chippendale, Millie Millington, Verena Watkiss, Laura Hosken, Alex Burley, Mitch Jones, Trevor Irving, David Nicholas, Ian Davies and Ross Hamilton.

The story is mainly set in Folkestone in Kent, where Kipps is a struggling assistant in a drapery store, dreaming of better things  -  and they turn up in the shape of an unexpected family inheritance. But is the life of a high society 'toff' going to turn out better than his simple working-class existence?

He will have to choose between his childhood sweetheart Ann (Cath Bryant), with whom he shared half a sixpence as a token of their love and luck, and the sweet Helen (Heather Stockwell) and her money-grabbing mother (Lizzie Brignall/Louise Ellard) and brother (Sebastian Roughley).

The young Arthur and Ann are Charlie McDowell and Elsa Clarke.

Then there are his loyal mates, Sid (Jonathan Warriss-Simmons), Buggins (Matthew Madeley), Pierce (Callum Akehurst-Ryan) and Flo (Aggie Holland) and the helpful Mr Chitterlow (Nigel Cole), who watchfully assess the effects of his new-found wealth.

They are all great singers and dancers and the ensemble jauntily romps through the show, with an especially lovely duet sung by Ann and Flo, using a promenade walkway, cleverly designed and lit by Greg Wilmot and Ben Blaber and team, with sound by Stuart Vaughan, stage managed by Richard Coveney with production manager Helen Lowe.