Where Do Little Birds Go?

Based on the true story of Lisa Prescott, who was kidnapped by the Kray Twins and essentially donated as a sex-slave to an escaped murderer, Camilla Whitehill's Where Do Little Birds Go? deals with some seriously dark subject matter, but manages to be uplifting and utterly beautiful.

All of the elements of this piece are constantly in harmony.

We meet Lucy Fuller (based on Prescott) as a young girl finding her feet in London, dazzled by the glamour of the Blind Beggar pub (presumably more glamorous in 60s London than now), and Winstons - the Kray’s nightclub in Mayfair. Giving us Lucy’s story pre-ordeal, rather than just focusing on the horror of the flat in which she was held captive, is a mature decision by Whitehill which reaps its reward in the audience’s complete engagement with and affection for Lucy. Jessica Butcher is flawless in the role - she’s witty, silly, charming, naive and brash all at once. She nails the estuary accent, the child-like exuberance of the 18 year old Lucy, and the maturity and pain of the damaged woman she becomes. She lets us in on these nuances through the smallest of gestures or changes in tone - visibly stiffening at the mention of the Krays even before we’ve heard why. Her descriptions paint the other characters in full 3D and imbue them with qualities as complex and contradictory as her own. She also has a killer singing voice, and the punctuation of the story with sudden belting of aptly chosen songs adds lightness and sorrow in equal measure. It really is a stunning performance.

When the kidnapping and subsequent abuse come, they are handled sensitively and with a grace that matches the head-held-high attitude of Butcher’s Lucy. Escaped murderer Frank Mitchell and the accomplices in the house are complexly drawn too and Lucy feels for them even as she is imprisoned and repeatedly raped. The staging of the abuse is particularly well done - a subtle repetitive almost-dance in which Butcher puts herself in position, pain both physical and mental visible in her face and posture, changes position, repeats the cycle - becoming increasingly tired, teary and eventually dead-eyed and eerily calm. It’s a fantastic bit of directing from Sarah Meadows - communicating the horrific whilst keeping your focus on the inner life of the victim rather than the mechanics. It also feels entirely woven into the piece given that Lucy has danced around the three level set for most of the play, and makes great use of heightened physicality at other points.

In fact, all of the elements of this piece are constantly in harmony: the simple set of cabaret tables and a bar, the choice of songs both sung and recorded, the costume design. Butcher is in a gold mini-dress with white stockings, but adding a white fur stole she’s transformed into a glamorous club hostess, and removing her stockings she’s instantly made vulnerable in the kidnapped scenes. The piece, as it is, is flawless, and my only criticism can be that there could have been more - it would have been nice to know more about how Lucy fared long-term, and her story feels a little incomplete as is, especially as this gorgeous little piece had me utterly invested in her. 

Reviews by Jen Payne

Camden People's Theatre

We Are Not Cakes

★★
Camden People's Theatre

First Draft

★★
The Hen & Chickens Theatre

Dead in the Water - A Musical Tragicomedy

★★★★★
Camden People's Theatre

Where Do Little Birds Go?

★★★★
The Hen & Chickens Theatre

The Girl In The Blue Coat

★★★
Etcetera Theatre

The Fix

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

"My name is Lucy Fuller. I’m 24 and I live in Whitechapel. When I was 18 I was kidnapped by the Kray twins, and locked in a flat with an escaped murderer."

Coming to Camden People’s Theatre as part of The Camden Fringe, Where do Little Birds go? is a colourful and poignant tale of crime, kidnap and lost innocence in the heart of the 1960s East End.

It’s 1966 and Lucy Fuller is eighteen years old. She works at Winstons Nightclub. One night Lucy is kidnapped by the Kray Twins and locked in a flat with an escaped murderer. This is the terrifying story of Lucy’s time with Ronnie, Reggie and Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell.

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets