Review of Viva’s production of  ‘Half a Sixpence’ at the Brook on Wednesday  29th July 2015

When it’s a Viva production, you know it’s going to be good and ‘Half a Sixpence’ lived up to all expectations. The acting, singing  and dancing were delightful as were the costumes, scenery and accompaniment. Tommy Steele look-alike, Charlie O’Connor, was very much the Cockney boy Kipps, uncertain of his destiny, his feelings and his place. Kipps thought he loved his childhood sweetheart, Ann (played by Rebecca Storey) but when his luck came in and he was suddenly very rich, he was overwhelmed with the glamour of the upper class and became engaged to Helen (Zara Minns). Helen’s brother ‘Walsingham’ (Dan Lane) and her mother Mrs Walsingham  (Anthea Kenna) created a family from hell: Walsingham  ruined Kipps financially and Mrs Walsingham was the epitome of the tyrannical mother-in-law. After a fantastic row with her, Kipps finally worked out that it was Ann he loved. They married and eventually came to realize that love conquers all, even money.

This whole story was beautifully told and the performers’ natural talent shone through. The action developed seamlessly, with actors transfixing the audience with exquisitely sung  solos, duets and ensembles. Joining them often were amazing groups of dancers. Choreographer, Louise Plummer, inspired many intricate and intriguing steps that were neatly executed, never once losing the flow of the beat. Mr Chitterlow (played by David Tickner) was a splendid over-the-top thespian who enjoyed a little too much of the drink and  Mr Shalford (David Moat) made his staff quake with his despotic and mean ways until he had his comeuppance near  the end.

This was a fantastic production which should do extremely well at the Edinburgh Fringe. Dan Schumann (Director), Stephen Kenna (Musical Director) and this amazing team of dedicated performers and supporters are to be congratulated for yet another resounding success.

The next production to look forward to is ‘A Christmas Carol’ 3rd to 5th December and St. Andrew’s Church, Soham. Tickets available from September.

for more information, contact (01353) 722 228

Rosemary Westwell

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