THEATRE audiences have hailed a 22-year-old as a star of the future following the opening of a revived musical.

Half A Sixpence has been scooping five-star reviews across the board and saw three standing ovations during one recent performance after opening at Chichester Festival Theatre on July 14.

The man at the centre of the success is 22-year-old Charlie Stemp, who has also appeared in Wicked in London's West End.

He is one of two young actors introduced as part of the revamped 1960s production - the other being Devon-Elise Johnson. Both recently completed an international tour of the Abba musical Mamma Mia.

Argus editor Mike Gilson was at a performance on Tuesday.

He said: "Not only will you see an astonishing musical production sun-bursting with joy, you will be in on the birth of a star.

"Sure enough it is a wonderfully clever, stunningly choreographed tour de force which keeps rattling along unable to outstay its welcome."

Barrie Jerram, one of The Argus's regular theatre critics was also quick to praise it.

He said: "The show becomes a real scorcher ... Charlie Stemp endears himself to the audience."

But it is not just our own reviewers who have been dazzled by Charlie and the production.

Dominic Cavendish, theatre critic at the Daily Telegraph, proclaimed it fit for the West End.

He wrote: "Half a Sixpence has been enhanced, re-sized, had all its blemishes removed and now looks pretty close to perfection.

"Bid hello to 22-year-old star-in-the-making Charlie Stemp, a huge find for director Rachel Kavanaugh and her team; taking the lead of Arthur Kipps he makes the part all his own."

Alan Finch, executive director of Chichester Festival Theatre, said: "Naturally we are thrilled with the response from both critics and audiences, who have given the show some of the most rapturous ovations in recent memory.

"The box office is extremely busy following a sold-out preview period and excellent overnight reviews.

"At the moment tickets are available for all performances. But we advise booking quickly to avoid disappointment."

Half A Sixpence runs at Chichester Festival Theatre until September 3. Visit or call 01243 781312.