YOUTHFUL ambition and gritty reality are never far from the surface in Channel 4 and Bush Theatre writer Camilla Whitehill's award-winning debut play Where Do Little Birds Go?

This 65-minute one-woman show is based on the true story of nightclub hostess Lisa Prescott who spent four days held captive in an East Ham flat with lifer Frank 'Mad Axman' Mitchell at the behest of notorious gangsters, the Kray Twins.

In the show Lucy Fuller is a hopeful 18 year old working in a London club at the height of the Swinging Sixties. Then she is kidnapped and locked up with a convicted murderer. We follow Lucy’s journey from small-town teenager to London sex worker.

Where Do Little Birds Go? lifts the sleazy curtain on London in the '60s where the glamorous world of fashion, music, culture and celebrity rubbed shoulders with an equally powerful empire of corruption and violence.

After a sell-out run in Edinburgh, Where Do Little Birds Go? is now showing at the Old Red Lion in Islington.

We caught up with Camilla ahead of the show.

The play is based on a true story - but how different is Lucy to Lisa?

Lucy is entirely made-up. I haven’t met Lisa, and none of the stories about the incident are from her point-of-view, so it would be a massive disservice to write Lisa, the real person, as a character. I like to make it as clear as possible that Lucy is a work of fiction - though what happened to her is real.

Where did you first hear about the story?

I was reading a book about the Kray Twins and came across it there. I immediately wanted to know more about the woman involved and how she felt - but of course there wasn’t anything about that.

What was it that you wanted to take from it to say in your play?

I don’t think I was trying to say anything. I just thought it was an important story to tell.

Where did your research take you?

I suppose it resulted in what you see on stage. To be honest, once I knew the story of what happened, the ensuing research was more to do with music, language, culture. I kind of let the story take it’s course.

How does the play address the subject of the sexual exploitation of women?

Well, the play literally depicts the sexual exploitation of a woman so it’s in everything. I dealt with what happened with as much honesty and truth as I felt necessary to tell the story. I don’t think we shy away from anything.

Where Do Little Birds Go? until November 26. The Old Red Lion Theatre, St Johns Street, EC1V 4NJ. Details: 0844 412 4307,