A two-hander musical about the brain's response to grief.

SPARKS is a new play by writer-performer Jessica Butcher, in collaboration with musician Anoushka Lucas and director Jessica Edwards, exploring grief, loss, worth, love and fantasy.

But it took fifteen years of disconnected sparks to do the damage. To stop her beautiful fantastical brain from connecting.

We follow her through her whirlwind romance, we are her groupies during their first meets, dates, fucks, fights, break ups. We watch as it falls apart. We’re the best friend, the confidante – and we don’t ever really know what happens.

She presents us with multiple realities: what really happened between her and X, what might have happened, and the fantasy version. She is our guide through the story, yet she is a novelist: a professional fantasist.

and I felt like I already lived in the back of his head.
And that is where I wanted to live forever.

With only herself to rely on, she asks everything except what she desperately wants to know the answer to: how do you let go?

In a play that blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy, imagination and truth SPARKS is a story for anyone who has ever embellished on the ordinary.

1hr 00m
The Vaults
21 — 25 Feb 19:45
Book Now


About the company

Flipping the Bird & Michelle Barnette Productions

Jessica Butcher is an actress who was most recently in OFFSIDE (Edinburgh Festival 2017 & U.K. Tour). Jessica is known for playing Lucy Fuller in Camilla Whitehill’s award winning play WHERE DO LITTLE BIRDS GO? Sometimes she’s in EastEnders. SPARKS is her first play. Her second play, BOOTS, will also premiere in London in March 2018.

Anoushka Lucas is a multi-instrumentalist singer and songwriter. Her music has been championed by Jazz Fm (Love Supreme winner 2013) and Radio 2 (Jamie Cullum show, BBC Introducing). Composer: Klook’s Last Stand (Book by Che Walker, Park Theatre 2014), The Etienne Sisters (Book by Che Walker, Stratford East 2015), Klook’s Last Stand (NAMT, Oct 2017). Actor: Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Olivier Award Best Musical Revival), Murder on the Orient Express (Pianist, dir: Kenneth Branagh, 20th Century Fox), Been So Long (dir: Tinge Krishnan, BFI/Film4/Greenacre)

Jessica Edwards is a freelance director and Artistic Director of Flipping the Bird. She holds a first in English from Oxford University and associate directed for the Almeida, the Jamie Lloyd Company, the Young Vic and in the West End. She is Resident Director of drag-girl-super-group DENIM, who are associate artists of Soho Theatre. Recent directing: Denim: World Tour (Soho Theatre / Underbelly); Punts (Theatre503); Revolutions (Arcola / Old Vic Lab); The Gulf (Old Vic Lab); Torch (Latitude / Edinburgh Festival 2016); Haters Make You Famous (Almeida Theatre); Queering Marlowe (Jamie Lloyd Company / Duke of York’s Theatre); White Hot & Weak (Old Vic New Voices Festival) The Box (Latitude / Theatre Delicatessen); The Itinerant Music Hall (Lyric Hammersmith / Watford Palace / GDIF / Latitude); Jekyll & Hyde (Southwark Playhouse / Assembly Edinburgh)

Michelle Barnette is an independent theatre producer and general manager specialising in new writing. She holds two masters degrees from King’s College London in Early Modern History and Shakespeare Studies (in association with Shakespeare’s Globe). Michelle has worked with the Westway Trust and the Kevin Spacey Foundation.
Currently: SPARKS (VAULT Festival 2018), Love Me Now (Tristan Bates Theatre), Che: The Musical (BEAM 2018).
Previously: Brutal Cessation (Assembly Edinburgh/Theatre503), Dust (Underbelly Edinburgh – winner of The Stage Award), The Scar Test (Soho Theatre & U.K. Tour).

Artistic Team
Written by
Jessica Butcher
Music by/Composed by
Anoushka Lucas
Directed by
Jessica Edwards
Design Coordinator
Amelia Jane Henkin
Zoe Spurr
Alexandra Faye Braithwaite
Michelle Barnette