There’s something to be said for simplicity.

The Nightingales begins with an empty village hall, slightly tired and faded – it has seen many years of pounding plimsolls and am-dram theatrics as various community groups occupy its beige walls.

In enters Maggie, a dowdy, dotty middle-aged Welsh woman, clad in rubber crocs. She is the sometimes-narrator for events to follow, delivering inter-scene summaries and her own thoughts on whatever situation is as hand. She also plays as the “Fifth Beatle” to The Nightingales, a five-strong group of amateur acapella aficionados whom she mostly watches with glee, occasionally chipping in with a song of her own.

And the small team does have something of a journey ahead, vying for the crown at a Britain’s Got Talent -style competition in Leeds, and suffering through mystery illnesses, adultery and betrayal along the way.

The Nightingales walks a fine line between slice-of-life naturalism, and earnest melodrama. The first half is rather slow and matter-of-fact (so much so you wonder where it's all headed) while the second part is stuffed to the rafters with hystrionics and twists, leaving the plot feeling slightly imbalanced – and the characters a tad one-dimentional and unbelievable.

Ben is a punchline-per-minute cheeky chappy straight out of Allo’ Allo’. His wife Connie is a minor star yearning for another 15 minutes in the spotlight. Diane is the baby-obsessed housewife of group leader and resident stick-in-the-mud Steven; while Bruno is a school teacher looking after his elderly mother. Finally there's Maggie (played by Ruth Jones), the enigmatic newcomer who insinuates herself into the choir. Despite the cast's best efforts, especially wife-husband duo Philip McKinley and Sarah Earnshaw as Ben and Connie, none are especially relatable, adding a further barrier.

Theatre, at its best, has the capacity to totally enthral an audience, and though The Nightingales is at times amusing, it lacks the heart or head to really become something memorable. There’s something to be said for simplicity, but in excess it leaves a desire for more, and here more was sorely needed. by Marion Sauvebois

The Nightingales runs at the Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday, November 10.