CP Taylor was a Jewish Glaswegian by birth but moved to Newcastle, his mother’s home city, in 1955 and spent the rest of his life in Northumberland. Seventy plays ensued, written in a garden shed that may have contributed to his untimely death from pneumonia, aged only 52.

It is hard to think of a writer who has caught the Geordie nation and tongue so well, and yet his prolific canon of work is rarely performed: so rarely in this region that your reviewer has not seen one of his plays in the past 13 years.

Encountering Sarah Punshon’s wonderfully evocative account of And A Nightingale Sang makes the dearth of Taylor productions all the more baffling and regrettable. Yes, they are specific to the North East working class but they are universal too in their home truths, and both his storytelling and dialogue are a joy to behold, and yet this play was one of the few Taylor works to be granted a West End production (at the Queen’s Theatre in 1979).

Written in 1977, it spans the six years of the Second World War and is set in a Newcastle kitchen amid the air-raid sirens and fears of poison gas. Here, the God-fearing Mam (Katherine Dow Blyton’s Peggy) makes Spam sandwiches and rules the house; dad George (Simeon Truby) makes his own entertainment, forever singing songs at the piano, and Grandpa Andie (Ged McKenna), the limping old soldier, mourns his dead whippet and causes a stink with the cat.

Daughters Helen (Laura Norton) and glam Joyce (Anna Doolan), meanwhile, discover the joy and heartbreak of first love with two soldiers, dark horse Brummie Norman (Jack Bennett) and whippersnapper Eric (Michael Imerson).

Taylor brilliantly portrays the little details of domestic life, the frictions of family relationships and the ebb and flow of love against a wartime backdrop, aided by songs from the Vera Lynn era performed live by the cast.

The first half is long at 90 minutes but still remains thoroughly engaging, and the second is better still, thanks to strong individual performances from Norton and Dow Blyton in particular and superb teamwork too. No-one listens to each other in the family, but the audience hangs on every word of a play that combines absurdity and quick humour with drama, sadness and a whole lot of love.

And A Nightingale Sang, New Vic and Oldham Coliseum, at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until March 6.

Box office: 01723 370541.