Despite the fact that it has now closed, I wanted to write a post about the recent London production of Half A Sixpence - I saw it the week it closed, so I don't think I can quite call it a review, more a little cluster of thoughts about it.
First off, let's talk about Charlie Stemp. I'd seen all the hype on Twitter and thought "yeah yeah, some dude is quite good, moving on" but having now seen the show, I completely agree. I was absolutely blown away by how strong he was in every element of the show, whether dance, acting, voice, etc. He managed to throw so much character into his every word, so that he came across charming and naïve and awkward all in one sentence. He reminded me of how proper old-fashioned musical movie actors are (think Gene Kelly) in that he completely commanded the show. Obviously this is partly due to the nature of the show, but I think he made it fresh and fun and everything I want to see in musical theatre.
Moving on to the fact it existed. I'm a sucker for old-style musical theatre, so when I saw that they were doing a production of Half A Sixpence in the middle of the busiest and most stressful year of my life (so far) I was gutted - thankfully it got extended and I finally got to see it! I'm so pleased that things like Half A Sixpence are still being revived because it brings musical theatre back to its early days, and reminds audiences of where it all started. I think it's easy to get swept up in the weird and wonderful abstract plays, or the big Disney shows like The Lion King, or the heavy tearjerking crowd pleasers like Rent - old musicals aren't as dull and crusty as they seem - it's so important for people my generation to get that!
Finally I just wanted to have a little gush about Andrew Wright's choreography. If you could marry a dance, I'd marry this whole show. Seriously. I adored it. Start to finish, it was genius. Ugh. He uses space and levels so well (for example, in Pick Out A Simple Tune when they dance on furniture) and the smoothness and almost suaveness (is that a word?) of his dances bring the show right up to date; it really was his choreography that breathed new life into Half A Sixpence.
I adored Half A Sixpence (can you tell?!) and can't wait to see if or when it's broadcast over Christmas! (someone on Twitter told me it was being shown on New Years Day? Anyone know if that's true?)
Now, stop reading my blog and go listen to the new London cast recording!
(photo credit - Manuel Harlan)