Toe-tapping tale brought to life

The cast of Dewsbury Collegians' production of Half a Sixpence.
The cast of Dewsbury Collegians' production of Half a Sixpence.

Dewsbury Collegians this week launched themselves into a colourful, moving and yet rumbustious production of the musical Half A Sixpence.

Based on the novel Kipps by H G Wells it has plenty of turmoil and heartache but also many loving and moving scenes which won the wide approval of the first night audience.

Thankfully the cast overcame an early setback in the sound system which made it difficult to comprehend the early parts of the plot and let rip with foot tapping numbers which embraced both a mass of principals and stunning chorus alike.

Numbers such as If the Rain’s Got to Fall, All in the Cause of Economy and, of course, Half A Sixpence are well known but there were several other less familiar but very moving numbers which won well deserved applause.

But the success of the show largely rested on the shoulders of leading man Chris Nuttall and he did not let anyone down. He threw himself into the part of Kipps using exuberance, skill and a fine voice to transmit the problems of being split between two lovers, torn between two lifestyles. In this he was backed up superbly by his two romantic targets, Alison Wood as his long term sweetheart Ann and Philippa Johnstone as his upper class heart throb Helen who both showed remarkable and moving talents in their singing performances.

Michael Siegel produced a dominating characterisation of Chitterlow, exuberant bringer of good and bad news and there was tremendous support from the remainder of the cast.

The directing was superb, the many scene changes were carried out in ultra quick fashion by a hard working stage crew and the shadowing performances of youngsters Lyndan Barclay as the young Kipps and Carrie Butterworth as Young Ann, illustrated that the society has talent in abundance for the future as well.

Director and choreographer is Michael Kirkby and musical director leading a sensitive orchestra is David Hann.

The production, being staged at Dewsbury Town Hall, continues tonight, Friday and Saturday.

Other members of the cast were Amanda Storey, James Creegan, Jeremy Handley, Rob Place, Ian Hartley, Natalie Jackson, Kirsty Firth, Wendy Nuttall, Steven Broadbent, Lauren Bullers, Sarah Bullers, Hayley Thompson, Simon Phillips, Patricia Shaw, Howard Goalby, Phil Clayton.