Oh to pluck a banjo string again: One dedicated fan's commitment to support Half a Sixpence #StageFaves

12 Apr
Posted in: Features
Author: Rebecca Wallis
The cast of Half a Sixpence

It's been six months since the curtain came down and the banjos were played for the very last time but the memories of HALF A SIXPENCE are still strong. Guest blogger Rebecca Wallis reminisces about her favourite show. And follows through on a promise to keep supporting the #StageFaves performers she discovered through it. Have you?

HALF A SIXPENCE holds a very special place in my heart, and when the show sadly closed, I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would continue to support the amazing performers that this incredible show introduced me too in their new roles. And six months on, I have kept this promise and am determined to continue to do so. So call me a dedicated fan, for that is something that I am happy to be.

Since Sixpence said goodbye to the West End, the cast have scattered across the country with some remaining in London and some heading out on UK tours. And, of course, the wonderful Charlie Stemp has ventured across to Broadway where he is receiving critical acclaim in the role of Barnaby Tucker in Hello Dolly ... But what is distance to a dedicated fan? I am even beginning to save up for a trip to New York. I have done everything that I can to see as many of these incredible performers in their new roles as I can, and I believe that I have done quite well.

At first, it felt a little bit strange seeing them in new roles when I saw them play their SIXPENCE roles so many times, but now I absolutely love it. All of the shows I have seen them in have been amazing, and they are some of the nicest people you could ever have to pleasure of meeting. So, you might ask, where have I been to keep my promise to myself and these performers I have come to adore?

First up, a few months after the closure of HALF A SIXPENCE, was a trip back to the West End for a visit to Matilda to see Callum Train and David Birch in their new roles of Rudolpho and Michael Wormwood. Matilda is a show that I had seen a couple of times before but I have to admit since visiting it twice more to support Callum and David, I have grown to love it even more and it is now one of my favourites. I am sure that I will be back at the Cambridge Theatre again soon.

The UK tour of Nativity followed with a trip to my much more local Theatre Royal Plymouth. Now, I admit, I had tickets to see this production before I knew that Sixpence cast member Jennifer Louise Jones was part of the cast, but that only added to my excitement to see it. Then a trip to Bath, to see Devon Elise Johnson get her princess on in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I loved this pantomime production so much I ended up seeing it three times, and seeing Devon is amazing every time for not only is she an incredibly talented performer but she is one of the sweetest kindest people I have ever met. Now Devon has joined the cast of Titanic UK tour, I have tickets to see it a couple of times when it comes down the Theatre Royal Plymouth. I can't wait to see her again.

"I hope that they are all aware that I will continue to keep the promise that I made, to support them in their careers" 

I then returned to London for two visits in two days to Dick Whittington at the London Palladium. It was wonderful to see Charlie Stemp and Emma Williams onstage again together and, not going to lie, the panto version of Flash Bang Wallop made me so happy. Both Emma and Charlie are amazing performers and I love seeing them perform, and much like the rest of the  cast, they are always so kind and lovely when I see I see them at Stage Door. I now have tickets to see Emma when the UK Tour of Officer and a Gentleman comes to Plymouth and I am very excited. To see Charlie again anytime soon, I would have to go to New York but that is something that I am working towards.

Another West End trip not only took me back to Matilda but took me to the Menier Chocolate Factory for their production of Barnum. Whilst I bought the tickets to support Bethany Huckle and Phil Marriott, I absolutely loved everything about the production from the immersive pre-show to the amazing circus tricks. As for my continuing support, I am sure that I will be off to see 42nd Street for the very first time now Bethany has joined the cast. 

So yes, I call myself a dedicated fan. Not only does seeing all of these wonderful performers make me feel happy, I honestly feel that they are happy to see me ... At least I hope they are. I hope that they are all aware that I will continue to keep the promise that I made, to support them in their careers.

Once Team Sixpence, always Team Sixpence.

Follow author Rebecca Wallis on Twitter at @beckymusicals.