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Cameron Mackintosh hails Charlie Stemp as best new star since Michael Crawford

Charlie Stemp as Arthur Kipps in Half a Sixpence at Chichester Festival Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan
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Cameron Mackintosh has claimed Half a Sixpence star Charlie Stemp is the best new talent he has seen since Michael Crawford 40 years ago.

The producer, speaking to The Stage at the opening night of the West End transfer of the Chichester Festival Theatre production, said the UK was seeing a “great British star” being born.

Stemp is a relative newcomer to the theatre world, having only appeared in a tour of Mamma Mia! and in the ensemble in Wicked in London.

Half a Sixpence marks his first production as a lead.

Mackintosh said: “He picked up the script and when I asked him to read it he became Arthur Kipps. I can’t remember seeing someone like that. I am 70 now and the last person who had this kind of talent to me was Michael Crawford when I first saw him in No Sex Please, We’re British [in 1971] – someone you saw in light comedy who had this extraordinary ability on stage.”

Mackintosh added: “It’s like the gods of the theatre brought him to us. He is learning on stage in front of us. He deserves a huge success in this but I think we are seeing a great British star, the like of which is very rare. And he is a decent, lovely guy, completely unspoilt.”