Hereford Musical Theatre Company were delighted to be the first amateur group in the country to put on a production of Kipps, and the large cast and director Nigel Holloway, back with HMTC after 15 years away, clearly relished the opportunity to bring this iconic musical to life for a Hereford audience.

Kipps delivers the simple message that money can’t buy you happiness or love or … anything of true value through the rags-to-riches-to-rags again story of Arthur Kipps – a boy who unwittingly has already been the victim of a judgement by his grandfather on the basis of money, born illegitimate when his father was deemed an unsuitable match ….

Fast forward and young Kipps has been working for the dictatorial Shalford for seven years, when a chance encounter manages to simultaneously lose him his job and reveal a stunning inheritance.

Having long forgotten Ann, the childhood sweetheart with whom he shared the Half a Sixpence of the title, Arthur enters the orbit of the rich and privileged, and is soon engaged to Helen Walsingham and entangled in her family’s life. But his money, it transpires, brings him nothing he wants, as a chance encounter with Ann proves …

As always, with HMTC, the show’s success lies in great casting – as Kipps, Charlie Plumridge rarely has a moment off stage and, especially in the second half, brought real charm and conviction to Arthur. Playing his love interests were Samantha Stokes as Ann and Chloe Darrell as Helen, both of whom combine great voices with considerable acting talent.

We’ve come to expect energy and enthusiasm from HMTC and the supporting cast – take a bow Donna Reid, Neil Franklin, Sarah Rowberry, Richard Davies, Steven Allan, Thomas Phillips, Meg Reid, Riley Gummerson, Ian Burrell, David Newton, Nicky Willett and Trish Chandler – and ensemble don’t disappoint. A couple of stand-out full-company numbers – Pick out a Simple Tune and Flash, Bang, Wallop – choreographed by Becks White, were especially memorable, as was the duet sung by Sarah Rowberry and Samantha Stokes, Just a Little Touch of Happiness.

Before the curtain went up, director Nigel revealed that, because the amateur rights had so recently become available, there were no sets or costumes available to hire, and everything had been designed and made from scratch – definitely a triumph there, especially with the set, which, as isn’t always the case, was transformed seamlessly and efficiently from scene to scene.

Kipps: The New Half a Sixpence runs at The Courtyard until Saturday, November 9. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit