The UKC Musical Theatre Society’s fantastic production of ‘Half a Sixpence’ ran for three nights at the Gulbenkian in late marh. Based on a novel by H.G. Wells, the musical tells the story of Arthur Kipps, a young man living in Folkestone during the Edwardian era. It depicts the events that ensue after Kipps inherits a large fortune, and begins his ascent of the social ladder. The plot revolves around the love triangle which develops between Kipps, his childhood sweetheart Ann, and Helen Walsingham, an educated upper-class woman.
It is almost impossible to pick just one stand-out performance from the cast. Arthur was played brilliantly by Emelie Duke, a talented young actor with a beautiful voice and superb comic timing. He had great on-stage chemistry with Melissa Davis who played Ann. Their emotive duet to the title song ‘Half a Sixpence’ was one of the play’s best moments; the audience gave it enthusiastic applause. Special mention should also go to Lawrence Harp, whose scene-stealing performance as Harry Chitterlow had the audience howling with laughter from the moment he stepped on the stage. His comic scenes were a welcome change in what was at times a highly emotional story.
It is important not to ignore the contribution of the chorus in a production like ‘Half a Sixpence’. The play’s big ensemble numbers such as ‘Flash Bang Wallop’ and the finale had the audience enthusiastically clapping along from their seats. It was clear from the polished dance routines that accompanied these songs that a lot of hard work went into choreography and rehearsals.
The story ended happily, with the audience left with the moral message: you can’t buy happiness. Overall, ‘Half a Sixpence’ was a delightful production, and I look forward to seeing many more MTS shows in the future.