REVIEW: Miss Nightingale is a joyous, cheeky and moving romp

Miss Nightingale - photo by Keith Mindham ANL-150210-110059001
Miss Nightingale - photo by Keith Mindham ANL-150210-110059001

Joyous, cheeky and moving, Miss Nightingale takes us on a coquettish romp through the hidden liaisons and ‘live as if you’ll die today’ spirit of London Blitz life.

Maggie Brown (Clara Darcy) is the rising star of a saucy burlesque theatre show - spreading her wings as the eponymous title character with a naughty wink and bawdy songs to drown out the chilling wail of air raid warnings.

Worlds collide as her Jewish songwriter George (Conor O’Kane), who has fled from Nazi oppression but yearns for the freedom of 1920s Berlin, embarks on a love affair with aristocrat theatre producer Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe (Nicholas Coutu-Langmead).

At a time when homosexuality was illegal and repression blighted gay life, their burgeoning romance threatens everything.

High drama ensues and is off-set with big-hearted humour, fabulous numbers by writer and composer Matthew Bugg and enduring hope.

With homosexuality illegal in almost 80 countries despite the introduction of same-sex marriage across many other nations, the toe-tappingly entertaining Miss Nightingale is a timely reminder of the progress we’ve made but the steps we have still to travel.

It runs at the Theatre Royal, in Bury St Edmunds, until tomorrow.