Burlesque musical of 40s London

Miss Nightingale Presents, featuring Amber Topaz

Miss Nightingale Presents, featuring Amber Topaz

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Sheffield composer Matthew Bugg brings his new musical to his home city next week fresh from a week’s run in the London West End.

Miss Nightingale - the burlesque musical is at the Lyceum Theatre next Thursday and Friday, the penultimate dates of a three-month UK tour.

Matthew Bugg, writer of Miss Nightingale Presents

Matthew Bugg, writer of Miss Nightingale Presents

But on the strength of three five-star reviews in London Miss Nightingale looks to have a lot more life in it.

“We plan to go on another tour before taking it into the West End for a longer run,” says Bugg. “We’ve also had interest from the States so it is all very exciting.”

In a show which celebrates the vintage glamour, wit and sound of Forties London, two men struggle in the shadows of a war-torn city to thrust a new cabaret star into the spotlight. But backstage lurk secrets more devastating than the Blitz. The cast is headed by Rotherham-born international burlesque artist Amber Topaz, Ilan Goodman and Tomm Coles.

Last year the show premiered at the Lowry in Manchester and went on a short tour and this is an expanded version with seven characters instead of three, extra songs and extended storyline.

“It was very much studio-based and now it’s a full-scale musical playing in 1,000-seater houses,” explains Bugg who has written the music, lyrics and book.

“It’s a co-production with the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, the Lowry and ourselves. We have had no Arts Council funding or anything, it’s a private enterprise.”

This time Bugg also performs. “I am in the on-stage band and I have a very small part as a seedy night-club owner,” he says..

“I am in a good position to look out at the audience and to see their response and as a consequence we have had one or two re-writes on the road. Three new songs were added when we went into the West End.

It has been a good 10 years in the making and latterly has required 14-hour shifts, seven days a week, says Bugg. So when the tour ends in Windsor the week after next, he can look forward to a long holiday?

“No, I can’t afford to stop, we have to make the most of the opportunity while it’s out there. So I will need to start planning to get the next tour out in the next 12 months.”

Miss Nightingale - the burlesque musical is at the Lyceum Theatre on Thursday, July 18, and Friday.