Half a Sixpence

Half a Sixpence
The story of how inheriting a fortune can confuse everything you thought you knew about life.

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 draper’s 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 won’t 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.

This is the new version of HALF A SIXPENCE which Bill Kenwright toured across the UK in 2007/2008. It has all the familiar storylines and characters of the original show but has been re-imagined for today’s audience with additional scenes, bigger roles for some of the supporting characters, more pace and more humour. The chorus has as much if not more involvement as in the original show and there are many new minor roles to give chorus members an opportunity to shine. If you are a smaller society, these minor roles can be doubled so that the show can be played with either a small or large cast.

There are nine new musical numbers, all with music by David Heneker but all with new lyrics. The new songs draw either upon songs already in the show or are songs cut from the original show or are taken from David Heneker’s existing song catalogue. They include a big ballad for Kipps in Act Two called “What Should I Feel?” which garnered huge praise from many reviewers of the show during its UK tour and brought the house down most nights, and a terrific new set-piece finale to Act One, “The Cricket Match”.

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