Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society

Half A Sixpence  (May/June 2011)

Set in the early 1900s in Folkestone, Kipps and Ann were childhood friends.  When they were parted as children, Kipps cut a sixpence in half and told Ann to look at it whenever she missed him.  Years later, Kipps is working as an apprentice in a drapers shop in Folkestone.  Ann arrives in the town, looking for him.  They meet and re-kindle their childhood friendship.  Then everything changes.  Kipps meets Chitterlow; an eccentric actor/playwright and finds out that he has inherited a fortune.  He leaves the shop and is drawn into high society.  He meets and falls in love with Helen Walsingham.  They get engaged but Ann finds out before Kipps has a chance to tell her.  She tells him that she never wants to see him again and is furious and upset at how he has treated her.  But Kipps isn't happy in high society and with the changes it forces upon him.  After a showdown with Helen's tyrannical mother, Mrs Walsingham, he calls off the engagement with Helen, realising it is Ann he loves, and he begs Ann to take him back.  She does and they marry and start a new life with Kipps' fortune.  But all is not well.  Ann just wants a simple life without all the trappings that Kipps' money has brought with it.  The money just causes rows between them.  It looks as though their marriage wont survive until Kipps learns that his financial adviser, Helen's brother, has speculated all his money away and there is nothing left.  Kipps and Ann are reconciled, realising that all that matters is that they have each other.  In a surprising twist, Kipps comes into money again, but this time he realises that love is more important and has been all along.

Based on the novel "Kipps" by H.G.Wells, it features great songs such as If The Rain's Got To Fall, Long Ago, Flash Bang Wallop, Economy, She's Too Far Above Me, this favourite English musical has been revised and includes new nine new songs.

Director: Chrissie Robertson Musical Director: David McKee Choreographer: Carole Beatty.

Eastern Daily Press Review by Richard Batson - Monday 30th May 2011
 
Leading Man excels in Cromer Half A Sixpence

This is the rags to riches and back to reality story that launched the career of multi-talented Tommy Steele. And this pier-end version of the stage show is the proof that Nick Bird is one of the best am dram leading men in Norfolk.

He demonstrates energy, versatility, comic touch, dance, singing, and an ability to plumb the poignant moments, in a hardly-off-the-stage role at the hub of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society's big spring musical. Bird plays 'humble orphan shop assistant Arthur Kipps who is propelled into high society by inheriting a fortune before discovering he does not fit and only finds happiness with his childhood friend Ann.

The show is at its best in the rumbustious chorus numbers, especially the favourite Flash Bang Wallop wedding knees-up, helped by the slick direction of Chrissie Robertson and choreography of Carole Beatty. There are periods when the plot and pace drops off a little, but it's not long before another routine retrieves the energy of a story about bouncebackability. Lucy Murphy is engaging as Ann, while Arthur's "other woman" Helen Walsingham provides the best singing voice in the show in Zara Crowley.

Special mention too for Martin Howard's wonderful cameo as eccentric playwright Chitterlow, and the delightfully pompous Mrs Walsingham of Thelma Torr.

The costumes are also stunning against a backdrop of simple but slick scenery that moves effortlessly from Folkestone prom to a shop, pub and cricket ground.

Having only a couple of classic songs - the title tune and Flash Bang - means this show is enjoyable rather than a blockbuster musical. But the 30-strong cast, and a fine orchestra led by David McKee, give it their all - and remember they so all their rehearsals after, to steal another of the show's song titles, a Normal Working Day.             
 
Our chosen charity was North Norfolk Radio's Families First. On our gala opening night, we were delighted to donate £500 to this worthy cause and a cheque was presented to NNR's Graham Lewis. This sum was boosted by a further £1288 by the the generous donations of our audiences at the end of each performance. Thank you to all  who gave so generously.