REVIEW: Miss Nightingale, Sheffield Lyceum

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Miss Nightingale, Lyceum

Sheffielder Matthew Bugg’s musical about a feisty northern woman trying to make it as a cabaret singer in wartime London was as sizzling as the night outside.

Real-life burlesque artist Amber Topaz, from Rotherham, shone brightly as Maggie Brown, who fights to become the toast of London nightlife as Miss Nightingale.

She pulled off a series of comic character songs with more than a hint of Gracie Fields with aplomb but also built a likeable character the audience could really root for.

This type of burlesque was more about tease and bawdy fun than bump and grind, although there was one electrifiying strip scene.

Maggie’s songwriter George (Ilan Goodman) is a Jewish refugee who faces racial prejudice and being a gay man at a time when homosexuality was illegal.

Both friends’ lives become entangled with club owner Sir Frank Worthing-Blythe (Tomm Coles), who falls in love with George but is scared of the consequences.

The story of George and Frank overshadowed Maggie’s at times, especially because of both actors’ engaging performances.

This was a feelgood show that was funny and entertaining but also left a lot to think about.