Noel Coward Theatre
St Martins Lane
London, WC2N 4AU
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Opened: 29 Oct 2016
Booking from: 28 Mar 2017
Booking until: 02 Sep 2017
Duration: 2 hour 45 minutes (including an interval)

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  • braintree 155cm female 27 reviews 4 helpful votes
    80% total rating Half a Sixpence, 10th November 2016
    I went in to Half a Sixpence not knowing much except that Tommy Steele had been in the original 1963 production (it was one of the last British productions to go to Broadway before the 1970s-1980s dominance of Andrew Lloyd Webber) and my boyfriend had sung the title song at me. As stories go it is a rags to riches tale about the value of money, class and love. Charlie Stemp as Arthur Kipps is fantastic; charming, handsome but with a naivety about women and status. When he finds he’s been left a fortune he gets close to Helen Walsingham (Emma Williams), a teacher who had showed him kindness when he was a draper’s assistant in the local haberdashery. He still has feelings for his childhood sweetheart, Ann (Devon-Elise Johnson), who works as a parlour maid. I really enjoyed the scenes with Kipps’ work mates and there is fantastic support from the social climbing Mrs Walsingham (Vivien Parry) and her dodgy son James (Gerard Carey). It is a very old fashioned story and an old fashioned musical; huge choreographed numbers and tune after tune after tune with revisions of the old production with new songs by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, who collaborate with Half a Sixpence adaptator Julian Fellowes on upcoming The Wind and The Willows at The London Palladium. What struck me after seeing shows like The Lion King and School of Rock recently was the lack of diversity and refusal (with the exception of the projections) for many modern elements. It feels like it has been staged at it would have been in the 1960s. As a result, the audience for this seems quite limited, it is fun show but it seems aimed at a certain generation and it feels very different to many of London’s current musicals and you can feel every inch of what an epic production this must have been in the 1960s but now feels a bit dated. Its strength is not the music but the story and the performances. Alongside Stemp (this feels like a breakout role) there is strong support from Ian Bartholomew as Kipps’ playwright friend Chitterlow and whose musical theatre experience, along with Emma Williams’, really shines through. It feels very lush and you will come out feeling delighted you went but my main recommendation would be as a seasonal show to take grandparents and parents rather than a group of young friends.
    Sat in Stalls Q18
    Really good view, close but not stretching and it is a very comfortable seat.
    Q18 Stalls - Noel Coward Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Stalls Q18
  • mayagottlieb 13 reviews 0 helpful votes
    80% total rating Half a Sixpence, 12th December 2016
    A very enjoyable show, with a feel-good factor which is guaranteed to make you leave the theatre smiling. Set at the turn of the 20th century, it tells the story of Arthur Kipps - a draper’s assistant who unexpectedly inherits a fortune and climbs the social ladder, learning along the way to question what really matters in life. Charlie Stemp, leading the show as Arthur Kipps, is an absolute joy to watch: equally talented in acting, singing, and dancing - a true triple-threat! The ensemble's performance is nothing short of perfection, providing a feel-good factor which runs throughout both acts, from the opening sequence to the grand finale! A period piece, Half A Sixpence still resonates today; as the best pieces of theatre do, it creates a fictional world to dive into, yet provides reflection on our realities, for both newcomers and audiences familiar with the music. As the cast sing in the finale ‘Flash Bang Wallop’, “what a picture” of a show it is and “what a triumph”!
    Sat in Stalls T24
    The stage was fully visible (despite being at the back of stalls, none of the staging was obstructed as all of the acting and dancing took place on the stage level). The theatre was very comfortable, and felt very open, with fully sufficient legroom and space.
    T24 Stalls - Noel Coward Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Stalls T24
  • gdeacon95 6'1 male 43 reviews 6 helpful votes
    100% total rating Half a Sixpence, 2nd February 2017
    I was truly blown away by this show. Not the best of storyline's however the sheer energy of the cast and band is infectious. Notably the choreography is a stand out, and the lead played by Charlie Stemp is a true star. There are several showstoppers (Pick Out A Simple Tune, Flash Bang Wallop) which were just thrilling, and the atmosphere in the audience at the end was electric with a full standing ovation which remained standing throughout the encore. One of the most feel good show's I have ever seen!
    Sat in Stalls C21
    Picked up this day seat - as expected an excellent, immersive view! Half a Sixpence has a raised stage so you do find yourself looking up quite steeply, but it's never really an issue. I would also say this is the better side of the stage to sit on if given the choice as a lot takes place stage right so the actor's are extremely close to you. The comfort of the seat is ok, but the legroom is truly incredible (makes the seat worth every penny alone).
    C21 Stalls - Noel Coward Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Stalls C21
  • Theatreemporium 5 ' 4 female 45 reviews 0 helpful votes
    100% total rating Half a Sixpence, 22nd February 2017
    Right let's get down to business! HALF A SIXPENCE!! You are a fool if you do not go and see it! I think it will be there for a while but the cast are amazing and there acting is phenomenal. Not once did I feel like I wasn't in a top West End show. The seating was comfy and I'm not small! It is truly an uplifting and magical story with all the emotions and even comedy one could need. There were standing ovations multiple times and even dancing at the end! Made me even emotional and want to cry as it was truly something special within its own right!
    Sat in Stalls P5
    View and comfort were amazing, I am not a small person and I didn't overlap the people either side of me. The view is amazing just so good for the price!!
    P5 Stalls - Noel Coward Theatre - Seat Review & View Photo
    View from Stalls P5
The Stalls are by far the best section if you want to be absorbed in this fantastic new musical, however beware of the very front Rows AA-B as you may be craning your neck and not be able to see the back of the stage that well. The best seats are in rows F-M and this is often reflected in the price, with Rows P and backwards being overhung by the circle.

The upper levels of the theatre can all offer better value for money alternatives, however the Balcony can feel quite distant and seats to the ends of rows can give quite a side on view.
Noel Coward Theatre, London interactive seating plan & seat reviews
Half a Sixpence transferred to London’s West End following a hugely successful revival at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The show began performances on 29th October 2016, having had its official opening on 17th November 2016 and will run until 2nd September 2017.

Half a Sixpence is the classic musical version of H.G. Wells’ novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul which is a veiled autobiography of his unhappy apprentice at a Drapery Emporium.

This new show is a completely new adaptation written by Julian Fellowes. Fellowes is a much loved actor and writer, best known for being the creator and screenwriter of the hugely popular ITV period drama Downton Abbey and the 2001 film Gosford Park. Fellowes has seen countless stage successes, working on shows such as School of Rock – The Musical, The Wind in The Willows and Mary Poppins.

The musical follows the tale of Arthur Kipps, a poor orphan who has a hard life as draper’s assistant in the early 1900s. Although ordinary, he is a charming young man, who dreams of a nice and more fulfilling world.

When he surprisingly becomes heir to a fortune, he is propelled into the upper class society and everything he knew about life becomes unstable, as he wrestles with his identity and relationships.

This new stage version is created by an acclaimed creative team, including reuniting bookwriter Julian Fellows with Anthony Drewe and George Styles, the musical team that were first put together by co-creator and producer Cameron Mackintosh when creating their acclaimed stage adaptation of Mary Poppins. A vibrant new score has been created by the team, featuring several of the most loved original songs.

The show first opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre to great acclaim, with its entire original cast having transferred for the West End production at the Noel Coward Theatre. Charlie Stemp takes the lead role as Arthur Kipps, with Devon-Elise Johnson as Ann Pornick, Ian Batholomew as Chitterlow and Emma Williams as Helen Walsingham.

Half a Sixpence began performances at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End on 29th October 2016, with an official opening on 17th November 2016 and is currently set to run until 2nd September 2017.
Half a Sixpence is a beautiful revival of a classic musical, brought up to date by one of theatre’s greatest creative teams. If you loved previous classic musical revivals such as Show Boat at the New London Theatre you should definitely check this out. With Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows behind it, you can expect the very highest quality.

Age Recommendations: May not be suitable for very young children