The stage is set, a night at Winston’s Nightclub featuring platform stages, pendant lights and a draped glitter curtain, all alluding to the revolutionary century of the 1970’s. A girl enters taking her place on the stage, we ponder upon this beauty as the lights arise, its show time. Beautifully presented for Underbelly Edinburgh Fringe, Camilla Whitehill impresses audiences with her award winning play Where Do Little Birds Go?
This production is simply enduring, a tale of love, loss, crime and violence, this show will have you laughing, crying and often reaching for a miracle to save the leading role. Jessica Butcher, otherwise titled Lucy Fuller engages, amuses and enchants with her exquisitely structured characterisation demonstrating naivety, childishness meets bold brass South London. In this realistic story Jessica brings to life the news-spread figure of Lucy Fuller. Lucy Fuller is 18 years old and working at Winston’s Nightclub. One night, Lucy is kidnapped by the Kray Twins and locked in a flat with an escaped murderer. This true story, reveals and explores the time Lucy spent with both Ronnie, Reggie and Frank.
The stark retelling of Lucy’s story is not only realistic but is designed to naturalistic precision. The intense sense of creativity, characterisation and new writing not only engages but provides depth to a story that may never have been told. Engaging audience members, Jessica delights, entertaining us with classic numbers, turns and era appropriate references. This production is utterly unique not only for its story, but its set design, movement sequences and sense of direction. A dramatic device that enchants this production is its sense of composition incorporating the title song and music relevant to the period and historical context. This both makes the piece dynamic, realistic and culturally appropriate. Jessica Butcher in her betrayal of Lucy is realistic, powerful and persuasive in varying models of development.
As Where Do Little Birds Go? is a show about growing up, facing the world, and realising not everything is as it seems, it would be impossible to deny a sense of linear structure. This sense of structure however, is often interrupted with absurd performance outlets and pedantic sense of scene change. This sense of interaction within the writing is extremely prevalent to the engagement of each audience member, uprising a sense of emergency, intensity and desperation. Within the production there is a connotation of a multitude of themes which include love, regression, sex and conflict. These are all explored within a well-structured, magnificently produced production. Whilst watching the production it is evident there is a definite sense of ownership both retained by the one woman act and award winning playwright.
With just simply one performer, this production is self-defined, unique and independent from any assumptions. It is a production of grit, reality and often hard hitting material and text. It began with me questioning the relevance of the story, the representation of Lucy and how appropriate a topic it was? However, by the end of the performance I feel truly moved by the significance of both the story, the title and the symbolism within. All of the detailing is sublime enhancing an audience’s believability, with a shadowed story and a symbolic representation, this production is something very different compared to other shows I have seen at the Fringe. I leave the production with not only an understanding of events, history and politics but with an essence of sympathy, emotional temperament and a truly remarkable sense of inspiration for this productions creativity. 4/5
Review written by Meg Mattravers.
Where Do Little Birds Go? is currently showing at the Underbelly Cowgate until Sunday 30th August. For more information on the production, visit here…