Writer and Director Matthew Bugg knows how to raise the bar when it comes to getting an audience to feel patriotic as his very witty musical Miss Nightingale plays out , The story is about the discovery of a songbird played with great bravado by a very talented Tamar Broadbent as Maggie Brown whose stage name becomes Miss Nightingale , Think Gracie Fields meets Vera Lynn with Lisa Standfields tone and you have the epitome of a chanteuse that handles the style of the period beautifully , The back story is the love between her manager, Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe played with real flair by Nicholas Coutu-Langmead and Jurek ‘George’ Nowodny played with great range of emotion by a very watchable Conor O’ Kane as a Jewish Polish refugee who escaped Nazi Germany where the Berlin of isherwood allowed him to be who he was in so in coming to a country where it was dangerous to be an open homosexual offered a different threat. The original songs act as create plot devices and are basically full of innocent smutty references that garnered the relevant chuckles . Bugg also weaves into this verve and vigour musical the fact that sexual attraction is a very powerful aphrodisiac and manners make a man where chivalry mattered. Niall Kerrigan as Tom Fuller brings a cockney charm to his role who thinks he can blackmail Blythe by stealing a cigarette case that Blythe had given to George as inscribed in it is a very tender message that could have disturbing consequences.
This musical is a real treat , atmospheric, staged stunningly where the twists and turns of the plot make for a charming fable beautifully told.
4 stars runs to 20th May, The Vaults, 7AD Leake St, London SE1 7NN Box office 020 7401 9603 www.missnightingale.co.uk
Photos: Robert Workman