Hippodrome Casino London – until 6th May 2018. Reviewed By Jo Gordon
Written and directed by Matthew Bugg, Miss Nightingale began back in 2011 with runs at the Lowry Studio, The Kings Head Theatre and doing the rounds nationally, but is now taking its place at the Hippodrome Casino’s glitzy cabaret theatre for a seven week run.
Set in 1942 war weary London we follow four people connected to one show. Maggie Brown/Miss Nightingale (Lauren Chinery) is a brassy northern lass who by day is nursing the returned injured troops and by night trying to find fame as a singer. Her manager and lover Tom Conner (Adam Longstaff) a typical lovable cockney spiv lands her a job in a cabaret club owned by well to do Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe (Oliver Maudsley). Maggie introduces her brothers friend George Nowodny (Matthew Floyd Jones) into the equation. A polish Jewish songwriter who has fled Nazi oppression sadly without his family.
As the stories around each character evolve there is a more serious thread that runs alongside the cheeky double-entendre fuelled (think Carry on films) elements. George and Frank begin a relationship, in a time when homosexuality was still deemed an illegal act and twenty men were prosecuted in Wales for gross indecency and labelled ” the enemy within”, trying to convince Joe Public that if these men risked getting blackmailed they would likely betray Britain. Frank does his utmost to keep it a secret but gets found out and his nightmare comes true as he is blackmailed by someone within his close circle. Mean while Maggie’s personal life takes a turn for the worst but the show must go on
With all for actors not only belting out amusing songs such as The Pussy Song and Sausage Song alongside ones to tug the heart strings like This Man of Mine they can also turn their hand at playing their own musical instruments. The setting is perfect within the Hippodrome Casino’s theatre renamed The Cockpit and arranged with cabaret seating, which I only have one issue with being that once past the far ends of the stage the seats that put the stage behind you do make it incredibly difficult and uncomfortable to watch! However, for a cracking night out in the centre of London that includes a show and war time themed food you can’t go wrong. If nothing else you will come away with a piece of advice we should all take heed of and that is “You’ve got to get your sausage when you can!”…..wise wise words in my opinion.