REVIEW: Miss Nightingale, Grand Theatre, Blackpool

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If ever there was a perfect musical for Blackpool, then Miss Nightingale is it.

Full of heart and drama but with a cheeky cabaret style, innuendos and plenty of saucy tongue-in-cheek moments, it’s just like our very own resort.

Miss Nightingale is at Blackpool Grand Theatre until Saturday, February 6

Miss Nightingale is at Blackpool Grand Theatre until Saturday, February 6

Set in the 1940s, Matthew Bugg’s musical follows feisty Lancastrian lass Maggie Brown (aka Miss Nightingale) as she tries to make her name as a nightclub singer in London.

With the help of her talented songwriter George Nowody - who has his own troubles as a gay, Jewish, Polish refugee living in such repressed times - she is finally noticed by rich aristocrat Sir Frank Worthington-Blythe.

It looks like things are on the up until their lives take yet more complicated twists and turns.

Covering all aspects of life from homosexuality to illegitimate children, power struggles between the classes to the complexity of relationships, the dark narrative would be pretty heavy going if it wasn’t for the hilarious cabaret ditties depicting day to day issues like war-time rationing (‘You’ve got to get your sausage where you can’).

The live band is a hugely important ingredient to the success of the show, especially as the simple set is largely unchanged throughout.

Clara Darcy is incredible as the formidable Maggie with an amazing ability to go from crowd pleasing bawdy scenes (getting stuck on top of a piano) to heartfelt moments lamenting broken dreams and loss (Bluebird).

And Conor O’Kane (George) and Nicholas Coutu-Langmead (Sir Frank) give powerful performances.

With only a three night stint in Blackpool, the only regret is that Miss Nightingale is taking flight and is on its final tour.

Until Saturday, February 6.

JULIA BENNETT