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Student Contributions

Katie James
Upper Sixth
Worcester House

Half a Sixpence Review

Half a Sixpence Review

This January, the staff, pupils and friends of Clifton College presented their version of Warner Brown’s, Half a Sixpence. On Wednesday 12th January I was fortunate to attend their marvellous production in the Redgrave Theatre, and having heard such great reviews from the Tuesday night’s performance, I am pleased to say that it did not disappoint.

The musical, directed by Douglas Henderson, was based on the novel ‘Kipps’ by H. G. Wells and is a charming Edwardian love story set in 1910, with various twists and a strong underlying social message. It tells the story of Arthur Kipps, an orphan, who lives and works with other apprentices for a cruel draper, Mr. Shalford. After learning that he is to inherit a large fortune, Arthur tries to join the upper class and gets engaged to the wealthy Helen Walsingham. Soon though, Arthur recognises that he will never truly be able to match her social status, and realises that his true love is his childhood sweetheart, Ann, whom he ends up marrying.

The casting of the characters in the main roles was perfect, with a flawless performance from Callum Paine who had the leading role as Arthur Kipps, and captivating portrayal of Ann, from Charlotte Bresnahan. The teamwork which was evident on stage and the interaction between the wide range of age groups was moving in the whole cast scenes, and really captured the essence of ‘Clifton in the community’.

If this team had been preparing and rehearsing their performance for months, it would have been a genuinely wonderful end result, but the fact that they began practising less than two weeks before the opening night, made it an even more remarkable achievement. As a pupil at Clifton College, it was fun to see some familiar faces on the stage, for example Mr Hallworth playing the draper Mr Shalford brilliantly, and Mr Middleton starring as part of the chorus (certainly adding to the humorous nature of the musical).

Half a Sixpence had me in stitches through some scenes, and wiping away tears during others. The final number ‘Flash, Bang, Wallop’ had the whole audience taping their feet, and I know I certainly left wishing that it could have gone on for longer, and with a huge grin on my face. This review won’t do the performance justice. Everyone involved seemed so in sync, and the enthusiasm which was present on stage was contagious. The short time period in which such a musical was carried off, and the professionalism with which it was done was truly inspiring, and I thoroughly enjoyed the night’s entertainment. Huge congratulations to everyone involved, thank you!

16 February 2011

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