The Haslemere Players production of Kipps – The New Half Sixpence was just the tonic I needed in today’s tough times.

This upbeat musical simply dazzled with its joyous verve, cracking humor, incredible song and dance numbers and an energetic and enthusiastic cast in beautiful period costumes, who brought smiles to the faces of the audience with screams, well-deserved cheers and applause.

A tribute is also needed to the set construction team who outdid themselves with an almost life-size bandstand and an impressive stately home.

Kipp’s is the contemporary stage version of the timeless musical treasure half a sixpence which reinvents this classic show for the modern era with even more flash-bang-wallop. It was rewritten by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) with a new partition of the Mary Poppins musical team.

Arthur Kipps is played by the incredibly talented Arran Treacher-Evans, whose amazing voice and dance moves wowed the audience.

An overworked draper’s assistant at Shalford’s Bazaar in Folkestone at the turn of the last century, Kipps is a charming but ordinary young man who, together with his fellow apprentices – the fabulous Tim Spindler, Isaac Lucas, Zac Rasulian and Becca McGregor – dreams of a better and a more fulfilling future.

A chance encounter with Mr. Chitterlow, a rising playwright played by the charismatic Tony Creasey, leads Kipps to discover he has inherited a fortune, which propels him into high society where he reluctantly meets people like the haughty Mrs. Walsingham (the hilarious Vicki Gavin) and landed nobility, Lady Punnet (the gorgeous Carolyn Lane) and becomes engaged to the sophisticated Helen Walsingham (the beautiful voice of Alexandra Boughton).

However, he just realized his first love, Ann Pornick (a stunning and powerful performance by Emma Lumb) is the one he really wants and happily marries in a musical ceremony attended by all the cast.

Brilliantly directed and choreographed by Kim Seymour, with Justin Luke as musical director for a fantastic ten-piece orchestra, this lively and captivating show was a truly uplifting evening of entertainment.

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