The Bongo Club
22-29 August 12.40
I really feel that I saw this show in an unfair light. I did not particularly enjoy it but the cast were almost crippled by the absence of children within the audience. Thus I must commend the three main characters for maintaining their bounce as they were smiley, energetic and noisy throughout the play.
The majority of the cast of The Nightingale tried extremely hard to sustain the attention of the audience and their interest in the narrative. I say the majority because one of the actresses looked positively embarrassed throughout the entirety of the play. This coupled with her fidgeting was distracting in such a small venue and unprofessional for an Edinburgh Fringe show. Furthermore the three principal characters spoke far too loudly and frequently spoke in sync or repeated one another which quickly became irritating.
However, there were well done elements. The music of the harpist was beautiful and added a more subdued nature to the play. Indeed many of the sound effects were unnecessary and actually detracted from the show and so the quieter parts with the harpist and softly spoken nightingale were refreshing (and also a relief). I do feel that a complete shake up of The Nightingale would have better demonstrated the talents of this small group of actors and that the calm but clear nightingale should have set the tone. The scene with death was a revelation, the masks were inspired and the more ethereal and delicately done part of this saved the show.
The Nightingale was a clearly told story but I would have preferred a quieter and more visually subtle version. I was certainly not enthralled by this effort.