“THERE’S a special kind of magic in the joy that the theatre brings” sings a youthful Chitterlow in WODS’ production of Kipps, and never was a truer word spoken.

In this, their first show since Covid struck, WODS provided ample evidence of its veracity, as they roared back on to the stage with a show brim-full of brio and panache, with some top class singing and dancing, which deserves to be seen by a larger audience.

Kipps is a revised version of the musical Half a Sixpence. The story follows the misadventures of the hapless Arthur Kipps, a working class lad whose happiness at coming into money is quickly eroded at the hands of a bunch of grasping aristocrats. Will Arthur be true to his new love, the well-to-do Helen, or return to childhood sweetheart Ann, who suddenly re-enters his life?

The show is enlivened by a series of toe-tapping musical numbers that will be familiar to anyone who’s seen the famous Tommy Steele musical.

Toby Edwards played Kipps with a reserve and naivety slightly at odds with Ann’s description of the character as ‘wild and silly’, but it felt appropriate as he was pushed from pillar to post in his efforts to please.

In a role that requires stamina – Kipps is barely off stage – Edwards delivered a very professional performance.


YOUNG LOVE: Lou Ford (Ann) and Toby Edwards (Kipps)

YOUNG LOVE: Lou Ford (Ann) and Toby Edwards (Kipps)


Lou Ford and Sam Rawlings gave strong, sweetly voiced performances as Kipps’s competing paramours Ann and Helen, the former also enjoying a saucily entertaining seaside postcard number with Megan Crosby’s fabulously flirtatious Flo.

Adam Norton, Elliot Kainey and Dan Hooper formed a warm and natural group as Kipps’ friends and colleagues and Ed Mears contributed a dashing, confident Chitterlow.

Special mention must go to Bruce Wyatt, who added a couple of scene-stealing turns.

Choreographer Sian Williams produced some showstoppers, all delivered with real heart and conviction by the entire cast, led by dancers Boe Aston, Ceri Price, Hannah Bratt and Lynne Holloway.

Scenery was mainly provided by an impressive backdrop which transformed in quick order from a tailor’s shop to a pub to a promenade and more – great work by a very slick backstage team.

Costumes were pleasingly well co-ordinated, and lighting was efficient. Finally, credit to musical director Sheila Boniface for expertly marshalling a nine-piece orchestra, and to director Christopher Hooper, who kept the action flowing.