Miss Nightingale: the Musical, 3 Stars

Miss Nightingale: the Musical
The Vaults
30th March to 20th May, 2017

“Miss Nightingale is that rare thing, a genuinely new and successful British musical that is neither a juke-box show nor one based on an existing play, book, or film. Since it was first staged in 2011 the musical has completed five national tours, playing more than 300 performances to 50,000 people at 30 theatres across the UK.

Miss Nightingale is set in London during 1942. A smoky, underground cabaret club opens in the heart of a war-torn city.  As a saucy new singer is thrust into the spotlight, two men struggle to bring their love out of the shadows.

A deeply touching and raucously funny tale of prejudice, passion and debauchery during the dark days of World War Two. Miss Nightingale brings the scandals, satire, and spunky spirit of the Forties sensationally to life.

Miss Nightingale champions a woman’s fight for her voice to be heard in a world of men. At the same time it reclaims the forgotten fate of gay men castigated as ‘the enemy within’ during the Second World War.  Set against ‘Miss Nightingale’s’ dramatic rise to stardom and self-empowerment is the romance between two of the men in her life – George, a Jewish composer, and Sir Frank, an upper-class impresario – at a time when society refuses to recognise their love and violently rejects their right to be together”. 

Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars

The Vaults have never looked so good. With a backdrop of Austrian Curtains, Cabaret Stage complete with Curtains, roll drops and proscenium Arch, snuggled into an Orchestra. There’s a bedsit downstage left and a dressing room downstage right and a centre stage space put to good use for various acting scenes. Festoon lights adorn the auditorium along with posters to cover the Vault walls. A lovely well thought out design by Carla Goodman along the style of the Kit Kat Club from “Cabaret“.

Callum MacDonald‘s biography says he’s “a fresh face to the theatre industry…..with a growing portfolio”. If the lighting on Miss Nightingale is indicative of his work then his portfolio will grow substantially, there’s plenty of room for someone with such talent for lighting. It’s not easy to put in a “pop-up” lighting rig but there are no compromises here in the design – it looks beautiful.

I did wonder why the drum kit has a label “ENSA” when it’s in a London Cabaret Club. And unfortunately I found the constant shift of the actor Musicians between playing instruments and playing multiple roles a little distracting. My thoughts wandered and wondered at the blocking of the show. The directing by Matthew Bugg (as Harry Brown, Producer, Director, Writer, Composer, Actor, and Musician) feels a little clumsy at times. Miss Nightingale’s journey from humble girl nurse working in a local hospital to ‘cabaret star show-stopping diva adored by all’ was there in the rhetoric but not in the performance, her musical performance started the same way it finished.

Most of the songs are very funny with double entendres and cliche jokes throughout. The audience went along with these. The ballads beautifully sung. However it’s a long show and perhaps some of the songs that don’t add so much to the evening could be cut. A full long evening works in many rural towns but Londoners prefer a shorter show.

Stars of the show, Nicholas Coutu-Langmead as Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe and Conor O’Kane as Jurek ‘George’ Nowodny have some lovely moments and a touching story to tell. They interact very well and are what makes the show well worth a visit.

Miss Nightingale the musical runs at The Vaults Theatre, London from 30 March to 20 May 2017, with performances Tuesdays – Saturdays at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.
Tickets priced £15 – £50 are available from www.thevaults.london

Photo Credit boneshakerphotography.com

Show Trailer Click Here

Miss Nightingale (Piano) – Tamar Broadbent
Sir Frank (Banjo, viola, violin, ukulele) – Nicholas Coutu-Langmead
George (Piano, percussion) – Conor O’Kane
Tom (Drums, percussion) – Niall Kerrigan
Harry (Saxophone, clarinet, piano, ukulele, violin, accordion) – Matthew Bugg
Clifford (Double bass) – Tobias Oliver

Writer & director – Matthew Bugg
Creative consultant – Joe Harmston
Designer – Carla Goodman
Lighting designer – David Phillips
Sound designer – Drew Baumohl
Producer – Mr Bugg Presents

Miss Nightingale the musical is produced by Mr Bugg Presents an artisan theatre company based in Sheffield, which specialises in new and original British musical theatre

Be warned – the bar is cash only!

Official website Click here


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