HG Wells is best known for War of The Worlds, but Half a Sixpence is based on his Kipps stories (personal favourites of the author).
The musical was written specifically to showcase the talents of all round entertainer Tommy Steele. Firstly a stage show and later a movie.
Half a Sixpence is Woodbridge based Company of Four’s Spring offering and it’s refreshing to see an amateur music company picking up a lesser performed work, rather than the usual commonly performed regulars.
It tells the story of a young shop apprentice and orphan Arthur Kipps (played brilliantly by Neil Thorpe In his first leading role). As a child he was parted from his childhood sweetheart Ann (Charlie Close perfectly cast) but as they go their separate ways he gives her one half of a sixpence, telling her they will be reminded of one another each time they look at the coin.
Kipps looks set to spend his days as a downtrodden shop assistant until a chance meeting with the flamboyant actor Chitterlow (Julian Illman) who tells Kipps him something that changes his life.
The cast all turn in excellent performances but the two lead characters are played wonderfully, while Julian Illman adds some comedy to the show.
Musicals are something that Company of Four have gained a reputation for and Half a Sixpence is another success to add to their list of achievements.
Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge until 1st June.
Review Mark Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine