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Friday, February 6, 2015

Half a Sixpence gives audience full value

* The full cast of Half a Sixpence. Picture by Barrie Potter.

Flash, bang, wallop what a performance!

A large and talented cast from Llangollen Operatic Society’s Young ‘Uns began their run of the ,lively musical Half a Sixpence at the Town Hall last night and gave the audience full value for money.
Based on the novel Kipps by H G Wells, the show, with words and music by David Heneker, tells the tale of young Arthur Kipps who undergoes a rapid transformation from humble Folkestone drapers apprentice to toff when he comes into a fortune providing him with £1,200 a year – a tidy sum for the time the piece is set in the early years of the 20th century.

But the windfall does him no good at all when he falls in with a snooty local family, the shifty scion of which, a so-called financial advisor, relieves him of all his cash.
Arthur’s rags to riches ascent also robs him of his true love, Ann, with whom he grew up in an orphanage and split a sixpence in half to demonstrate that they would one day meet up again and match the two halves together.

In the best plotting traditions the course of their love doesn’t run too smoothly but, of course, there’s a happy ending for them in sight.
Taking the part of Kipps is the highly talented Charlie Hackforth, who has successfully trodden the boards with the Young ‘Uns on previous occasions, and his childhood sweetheart is played by the accomplished Joanna Sully Stallard – making her last appearance with the company before heading off to university this autumn.

Outstanding in the supporting role of Chitterlow, the eccentric “actore laddy” who befriends Kipps, is Cassius Hackforth. He has a dramatic presence way beyond his tender years and lights up the stage whenever he steps onto it.
Strong performances also come from Elliot Priestley, Shea Ferron and Aled Jones as Arthur’s old colleagues from the drapers shop owned by the awful Mr Shalford, who is thoughtfully portrayed by Wil Edwards.

Musical numbers, including the title piece of Half a Sixpence and the rousing Flash, Bang Wallop from Arthur and Ann’s wedding scene, are delivered with suitable gusto, the acting is seamless and the dancing is well choreographed and executed.
The chorus of scores of tots is as colourful and appealing as ever.

The whole production is a credit to artistic director Chrissie Ashworth, musical director Julian Cattley and producer Pamela Williams who are ably supported by a small backstage army.
It’s well worth investing a few quid in Half a Sixpence, performances of which you can still catch tonight (Friday) and tomorrow evenings as well as a matinee on Saturday afternoon.    

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