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Half A Sixpence - Kilworth House Theatre

Half A Sixpence at Kilworth House Theatre perfectly captures everything I love about theatre served up in a beautiful joy of a production.

The cast of Half a Sixpence. Photo by Fox Corporate Photography

Nick Winston returns to the Leicestershire venue to direct and choreograph following his phenomenal production of Carousel that ran earlier this summer. Winston's brilliantly textured production will leave you with a soaring sense of warmth and delight.

The Kilworth revival is based on the 2016 Chichester Festival Theatre production which re-invented the musical originally by Beverley Cross and David Heneker and based on H.G Wells's novel 'Kipps'. A new lease of life with a new book by Julian Fellowes and new musical numbers by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe sitting alongside Heneker's work.

I was fortunate to see the London transfer of that Chichester run and without going too heavy it was a show that got me through a particularly difficult period, the lowest period for me, as I battled behind the scenes with my own inner demons. I'll never forget sitting there watching that production for the first time, despite everything going on I was able to sit and be totally lost in the world of the show and feel uplifted and hopeful and I'll always be thankful for that show helping me find a way out and a strength to keep going. 

Dominic Sibanda (Arthur Kipps) centre and the cast of Half A Sixpence. Photo by Fox Corporate Photography

In those 5 years, there's been a lot of personal development and growth but as soon as the first banjo note begins the show I was back in that world again. Free. Whilst this production is completely different in its staging it's at the core the same wonderous show. Winston brings excitement and feeling into the show and the cast all characterise their roles, big or small, with such skill and heart.

The central figure of Arthur Kipps is played by an outstanding Dominic Sibanda. There's such a likeability to Sibanda's performance, he oozes a cheeky charm that hooks you in. There are bundles of energy too with Sibanda being a first-class dancer and mover, he also boasts a great voice that hits all the right notes.

Laura Baldwin's Ann strikes a perfect match for Arthur. She captures and balances the sweetness and also the backbone of the role. She has a light stage presence and is hugely enjoyable to watch. The innuendo-filled romp of 'Just A Little Touch of Happiness' alongside Tamara Morgan as Flo is undeniably fun and the pair clearly have a blast performing it. Morgan herself is simply stunning as Flo. Everything she does is golden, a character you instantly connect to and feel for.

Sarah Goggin captures Helen in a brilliant way. Whilst you're probably meant to root for Arthur and Ann it does leave Helen heartbroken and it's there that Goggin succeeds in characterising the role. She is a woman surrounded by her pompous mother, played by Penelope Woodman and her untrustworthy brother James, played by Tom Pepper and in Goggin's presence, you feel the pain as her world falls apart around her, she is outstanding throughout.

Matthew Woodyatt bundles in with a huge personality and is simply fantastic throughout as Chitterlow. He is great fun, comedic, and a larger-than-life presence. Chitterlow's number 'The Joy of The Theatre' is an encapsulation of the feeling of the whole production and Woodyatt captures that successfully.

Ruairidh Mcdonald (Buggins), Ross Harmon (Pierce), Dominic Sibanda (Arthur Kipps), Will Carey (Sid) and Tamara Morgan (Flo). Photo by Fox Corporate Photography

Will Carey as Sid Pornick, Ross Harmon as Pierce and Ruairidh Mcdonald as Buggins offer supporting performances as drapers assistants alongside Arthur and Flo and all 3 characterise their individuality well and are further really likeable to watch.

Throw in an ensemble that pulls off Winston's dazzling choreography with such flair with every single person on stage nailing their role. Whether that's Billy Mahoney who plays multiple standouts such as Maxwell the architect or a drunken photographer or Gabriela Gregorian's lovely partnership with Sid in the latter moments. Everyone is simply brilliant. 

Philip Witcomb's period costumes root the production in the time and place and his set brings the various locations to life with Jason Taylor's lighting captures the world of the show well. Combating the open air elements can be tricky but Chris Whybrow's sound is clear and clean.

Heneker's music along with Stiles and Drewe's additional songs are a toe-tapping triumph. Numbers such as the classic 'Flash, Bang, Wallop' simply soar a swirling sense of happiness over you. Undoubtedly the ensemble numbers are where the most spectacle is, you can't beat 'Pick Out A Simple Tune' as a big full-out number but there is also a lot of heart in the solo numbers. The orchestra under Christopher Mundy creates a cracking sound. If all that music wasn't enough there's a rather wonderful full company banjo playing curtain call to watch out for!

New productions of shows you love can either sink or swim and this production doesn't just succeed it triumphs in glorious fashion. Winston and his directorial and choreographical genius once again fill the theatre. This is the kind of show where you're completely swept up in the joy of it all. An uplifting sensation.

Rating: 🪕🪕🪕🪕🪕 

Half A Sixpence plays at Kilworth House Theatre until Sunday 28th August with tickets available from

The cast of Half A Sixpence. Photo by Fox Corporate Photography

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