Review: Half A Sixpence

This is the rags to riches and back to reality story that launched the career of multi-talented Tommy Steele. And this pier-end version of the stage show is the proof that Nick Bird is one of the best am dram leading men in Norfolk.

Cromer Pier

This is the rags to riches and back to reality story that launched the career of multi-talented Tommy Steele.


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And this pier-end version of the stage show is the proof that Nick Bird is one of the best am dram leading men in Norfolk.

He demonstrates energy, versatility, comic touch, dance, singing, and an ability to plumb the poignant moments, in a hardly-off-the-stage role at the hub of the Cromer and Sheringham Operatic and Dramatic Society's big spring musical.

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Bird plays 'umble orphan shop assistant Arthur Kipps who is propelled into high society by inheriting a fortune before discovering he does not fit and only finds happiness with his childhood friend Ann.

The show is at its best in the rumbustious chorus numbers, especially the favourite Flash Bang Wallop wedding knees-up, helped by the slick direction of Chrissie Robertson and choreography of Carole Beatty.

There are periods when the plot and pace drops off a little, but it's not long before another routine retrieves the energy of a story about bouncebackablity.

Lucy Murphy is engaging as Ann, while Arthur's 'other woman' Helen Walsingham provides the best singing voice in the show in Zara Crowley

Special mention too for Martin Howard's wonderful cameo as eccentric playwright Chitterlow, and the delightfully pompous Mrs Walsingham of Thelma Torr.

The costumes are also stunning against a backdrop of simple but slick scenery that moves effortlessly from Folkestone prom to a shop, pub and cricket ground.

Having only a couple of classic songs - the title tune and Flash Bang -means this show is enjoyable rather than a blockbuster musical.

But the 30-strong cast, and a fine orchestra led by David McKee, give it their all - and remember they do all their rehearsals after, to steal another of the show's song titles, a Normal Working Day.

The show runs until Saturday.

Richard Batson

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