Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Miss Nightingale - The Burlesque Musical - Review - Leicester Square Theatre - July 2013
1942, London is at war with Germany.
George, a Polish, Jew songwriter has fled Berlin for a land that promises to protect him from the Nazi persecution, where his origins, homosexuality and desire for artistic freedom have put him in peril. In London, he unites with Maggie Brown, a nurse from northern England, with a passion for singing and performing, and a craving for fame.
Noticed by Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe, an upper class showbiz promoter, George and Maggie, 'Miss Nightingale', begin their escalade to stardom.
But life is not so simple for them. George is perpetually nostalgic about the city he left behind, and struggles to conceal his homosexuality. Maggie's love life resembles more a casualty of war than a fairy tale, as the man she loves,Tom, is married. And Frank, with a few secrets of his own, is soon faced with a dilemma that has repercussions for all of them.
Miss Nightingale is a love story, in the midst of World World II, that approaches meaningful topics with humour, sexiness and sensibility. Enigmatic until the finale, the play kept me hooked until the end.
The writing is spot on. Using regional idioms and lexicon from the time, Matthew Bugg manages to portray the true likeness of England in the 1940s. His script is filled with humour, sexual innuendos, and the tongue-in-cheek audacity that makes this play so attractive.
'Miss Nightingale' shows off the British spirit, positive in the face of adversity, the 'stiff upper lip', with heart and humour. In the 1940s, a real patriotic spirit embraced a nation faced with a terrifying assailant.
But behind the front line, a different enemy is fought within the social scene of the time.
Matthew Bugg has encapsulated the social aspect of persecution and repression in 1940s London with great skill. But the play couldn't have come together without the accomplished cast of actors, singers and talented musicians, who gave a compelling performance.
Amber Topaz is fabulous. Her spectacular and powerful voice lends itself perfectly to the 1940s tone. Whether interpreting Marlene Dietrich, 'Biggles', or others from her varied repertoire, Amber's omnipotent voice fills every corner of the room.
Actor, singer and dancer, Amber performs a sexy, sassy and perfectly teasing burlesque act.
But do not expect the burlesque of meaningless and boring feather fans dance and striptease. Amber Topaz, a renowned name in the world of burlesque, provides the audience with quality acts. This is what we call Burlesque…!
She captures the tease and sassiness of the genre together with the parodic humour and wit that true burlesque is.
A most dynamic, talented, charismatic troupe that will enthral you till the end of the play…!
Miss Nightingale is not to be missed…!
To find out more about the tour, which ends at the end of July, visit the website: www.missnightingale.co.uk
Photography by Simon Annand