Horsham date for new version of Half a Sixpence

Yvonne Chadwell has done about 90 shows with HAODS in Horsham; around 40 she has directed and choreographed, just as she is directing and choreographing again the latest show, Kipps: The New Half a Sixpence Musical (May 14-18 at The Capitol Theatre in Horsham).
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“I just love the company,” Yvonne says. “It's a family and that's the most important thing. You can go through whatever problems you have in life but there is always somebody there to listen to you and to help you and to advise and I think that's what makes the company so special. I would never have stayed there so long if I hadn't been as happy as I am as an individual with this company. We really enjoy ourselves and there is the social side as well.”

As for the latest show, Kipps is effectively the new version of Half A Sixpence: “I have directed Half A Sixpence twice previously but this is a new rewrite that launched about five years ago and it's very different. The music is very different and much more lively. It's got more of a turn-of-the-century jazz mood and you've got the additional songs. You have got Half A Sixpence as a song but there is a range of other songs. There is still the story in there but the people that wrote the additional songs were involved with shows like Mary Poppins and you can feel that it's got a much more modern vibe throughout the whole thing. It is really refreshing and feels really new.”

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The show is based on H G Wells’ autobiographical novel Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul.

Yvonne Chadwell (contributed pic)Yvonne Chadwell (contributed pic)
Yvonne Chadwell (contributed pic)

With a revised libretto by Julian Fellowes plus the new songs, the musical tells the tale of the changing fortunes of Arthur Kipps, an orphan and draper’s assistant at Shalford’s Bazaar in Folkestone, Kent at the turn of the 20th century. Kipps is an easy-going working-class lad, happiest with his banjo. However, when he unexpectedly inherits a fortune, he is suddenly propelled into high society. He falls in love with Helen Walsingham. However, her money-grabbing family soon latch onto Kipps as a way to restore their family fortune…

The fact that the new libretto is by the creator of Downton Abbey feels significant: “It really makes a difference. You can feel that the upstairs-downstairs feeling is much stronger. It is much more defined in terms of levels of society. And you can see that Kipps has a problem because he finds it really hard to migrate into his new world. He has his affection for Helen but it can't bridge the gap between him and his love for Ann. Love is the main theme that goes all the way through, how we find it and how we can sometimes not recognise it but it's also about class and the fact that it's difficult to go from lower to middle to upper because all of the stigmas. It is a question of knowing your place but also a question of knowing how you can make it work within your place and have fun.”