Charlie Stemp chats all things Half A Sixpence, including challenges, favourite moments, and four large meals a day.
Congratulations on the West End transfer of Half a Sixpence! How does it feel to play your first leading West End role?
It feels like a dream. I think it is secretly most performer’s dream to be able to say that they were or are a West End lead. I feel very privileged to be part of that group.
Charlie Stemp in Half A Sixpence
What can London audiences expect from Half a Sixpence?
Audiences can expect lots of hilariously fun numbers full of life – and perhaps a banjo or two…
What’s different about this new version of the show?
Well quite a lot actually – every aspect of the show has been modified. The music and lyrics have been beautifully updated and added to by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and the script has been remastered by Lord Julian Fellowes. There’s excellent new choreography by Andrew Wright, Graham Hurman conducts the show with such grace, and our director Rachel Kavanaugh has worked tirelessly to make the show the brilliant production that it is today. Then there’s our producer, Cameron Mackintosh, who has been there to give guidance and advice throughout. The team really have brought the show into the 21st century and made it very different from the original.
You’re on stage for practically every scene in the show, how do you keep your energy up?
Well I have always been very energetic, though I don’t really think about it until after the show finishes if I’m honest. But I do sleep a lot and eat at least four large meals a day!
What’s the biggest challenge of taking on this role?
For me the biggest challenge has been pacing myself. My work ethic has always been based on giving everything 110% – but when you’re in rehearsals every day for eight weeks going over numbers four or five times in a row, you have to learn to pace yourself so that you can get through the day.
What’s it like working with producer Cameron Mackintosh, Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes, and the rest of the creative team?
It has been incredible. Every member of the creative team are at the very top in their fields and to be able to work with such a talented bunch will be something I won’t ever forget. From day one I’ve had nothing but support and guidance from every single one of them.
The cast of Half A Sixpence wish Cameron Mackintosh a Happy Birthday!
What’s your favourite moment in the show?
That is a tough one, but I would have to say one of either Pick Out A Simple Tune or Flash, Bang, Wallop!. Both are great company numbers that always get the audience going.
Why should people come to see Half A Sixpence?
Because it’s unlike anything else that’s on in the West End. I guarantee you will leave humming “Flash, Bang, Wallop!” and smiling ear to ear!
Excited about Half A Sixpence? Get your tickets today!