Fifties family deals with trials and tribulations

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The Nightingales, The Ditchling Players, directed by Nan Crofton

Ditchling Players’ production of Peter Quilter’s The Nightingales is a charming story of how Jack (Nicholas Beeby), a cabaret star, and his ‘co-star’ Maggie (Susie Beer) deal with the unexpected arrival of his parents, Charlie and Beatrice (Gerald Fleuss and Jill Hewer), who were, themselves, a Music Hall Act.

The reason for their arrival becomes clear when Jack’s mother disappears and leaves behind a note saying she’s leaving for France. She also indicates that her ‘departure’ is not going to be temporary.

Alongside the four principal characters of Jack, Maggie, Charlie and Beatrice is the housekeeper Geraldine (Diana Waterfield).

While all this chaos is happening, there is an underlying ‘sub-story’ involving Jack and Maggie, where Maggie is having a rotten time trying to find ‘Love’. Susie Beer’s demonstration of this ‘straight to the point’ character was thoroughly entertaining and ensured the audience warmed to her. The relationship between her and Nicholas Beeby was light and fun. It had an air of ‘will they, won’t they?’, which was brought to a close at the end of the play when they kissed and Jack took Maggie off towards the bedrooms.

The set was super and the audience was instantly transported to a 1950s living room.

The costumes were also very fitting and, as all the characters appeared on stage, one easily believed that they were a genuine family dealing with the trials and tribulations being handed to them.