Today's full programme, more choices & comment

Alexa, Play. Connick & Schuller

The case of Christine and Lea Papin has fascinated artists and writers alike for almost a century. In Alexa, Play., the case is reimagined and brought to the modern day by handing Christine’s role in the murder of their employee, to Amazon’s Alexa. Has Alexa updated to an emotional, manipulative being or has Annie, an overworked PA, given Alexa human attributes to cope with her ever demanding and abusive boss?

Beige Magna

Alex is funny. That’s what Lila says at least. But it’s more embarrassing coming from yer mum right? “It’s genetic, Hun. I’m f**king funny me.” <br/>You know that thing when yer dad’s a philandering absentee, yer relationships are forever on the wonk and the binary don’t apply? Yeh, that’s Alex on the daily.<br/>Thank f**k for Lila.<br/>Alex and their mum are both just trying to do life. Some days it’ll make them wanna punch through a wall, on others they’ll find themselves slow-dancing in an art gallery. Whatever gets ‘em through ya know? <br/>In this half-play, half stand-up gig, Anna Wheatley explores the art of being human in a world obsessed with boxes. You might do a laugh. You might do a cry. You might join hands and stick two fingers up to society. <br/>Director: Jessica Daniels (Girl From The North Country)

If This Is Normal Chatback Theatre

Growing up in Kilburn, siblings Madani, Maryam and school mate Alex hit it off from the moment they meet. 10 years later, playful chats about ninja turtles and bobble pens have been kicked out by teen opinions powered by podcasts, porn and politics. Still, best friends can talk about anything. So why are there suddenly so many unspoken thoughts between the three? A critically acclaimed play direct from the Edinburgh Fringe 2019 about teenagers crashing into the modern world.<br/>****'Powerfully performed by a first-rate cast it's a funny sugar-rush of exceptional energy' The Scotsman
**** 'Superb coming-of-age tale...brilliantly done' The Wee Review
***** 'Four days into the Festival, and I might have found the best piece of Fringe theatre I’m likely to see this year' The Fountain

motherEarth ThisEgg

A goodbye to the world and a goodbye to our mums. There will be a lot of dancing and a lot of singing. There will be a lot of noise. This is a brand new work in progress performance from the makers of Fringe First Award 2018 winning dressed.

My Mother Runs in Zig Zags Coriander Theatre

This play is about a mother who lived through the Lebanese civil war, and her daughter, who has not. It’s about the way this mother speaks to her daughter about trauma, and about the funny, heart-breaking stories which she tells as one would tell a fairy tale, or what happened that day at the supermarket. This play is about silence, and everything that is never mentioned. It's about how we use stories, laughter, and silence to heal, and how they prevent us from healing.<br/>With humour and an original live music score, it explores the ways a queer daughter interacts with these stories, how they shape and clash with her life in the West, and how slowly, softly, she can find agency inside them.<br/> All the stories in the play are based on real conversations between a daughter and her mother, a refugee who survived the Lebanese civil war.

Father’s Son James Morton

1974. A shattering and inconvenient truth. <br/>2001. An act of extraordinary violence.<br/>2018. The severing of family ties. <br/>This restless, tender and deeply personal new play wrestles with the trauma inherited from father to son with sharp focus on how this shapes who we are. Spanning three generations, Father's Son examines how the unresolved trauma, toxic behaviours and poor mental health ripple through a working class family in Stoke. <br/>James Morton is an urgent and necessary working class voice and makes his professional debut at VAULT Festival.<br/>“James Morton is a writer of real and rare talent and humanity. He is restlessly searching, deeply compassionate and as fucking funny as he is truthful. In the future you will be definitely boasting about seeing his early plays.” (Simon Stephens)<br/>Father's Son was developed through the National Theatre's Toolkit programme and Soho Writers' Lab. It was shortlisted for the Tony Craze Award in 2018.

Dumbledore Is So Gay Robert Holtom & Tom Wright

It ain't easy being Jack. He hates French, he got sorted into Hufflepuff on the official online quiz and he's in love with his best friend Ollie. But dodging bullies, keeping secrets and trying to get the man is too much for Jack to take. So he pulls out his trusty Time Turner and does it all over again. Maybe this time he'll get into Gryffindor.<br/>Dumbledore Is So Gay is a witty, poignant and contemporary coming-of-age drama for the naughties. Written by Robert Holtom (The Cluedo Club Killings, The Quest) and directed by Tom Wright (Undetectable, My Dad's Gap Year).<br/>For those who love fantasy and those who don't, for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, and for anyone who loves a good laugh and maybe a little cry. Join Jack as he tries to be true to himself in a world so full of prejudice and indifference.

LIMBO Sara Carinhas

L I M B O is a show made of music, dance and auto-biographical stories. A group of young actors, from different nationalities, try to share little fragments, moments, that changed something within them forever. The line drawn between fiction and reality is blurry, real depositions and tales are mixed up.
The fact that L I M B O is a site specific show adds a different sense of occupation, both for the actors and the audience.
It may be a show about friendship, or about getting old fast (the endless fight of Humanity against Nature), or even about the fear of disappearing, of giving up - to sleep... and to fear never waking up again.

Lily Phillips: Smut (Work in Progress) Lily Phillips

Female comedians are often criticized for only talking about vaginas and periods, which is offensive, but in Lily’s case 100% true. Follow newcomer Lily Phillips with her ‘funny bones and great hair’ (This is Cabaret) on her journey to feminism and stand up. How did Lily go from Cheerleader to activist? How many Vagina jokes can she fit into an hour show? And why, when she talks about her body does she get referred to as smutty? With her ‘Charming and moderately obscene’ (The Scotsman) comedy, Smut will center around Lily’s life experience so far; her family life, her career dancing on Greek islands for a conglomerate of pervs, the trials and tribulations of having a periods and turning 30 only to discover that apparently your vagina gets bigger with age rather than usage? Whattt? Find out what happens when her dog gets cystitis and when her boyfriend has to help her birth her own Menstrual Cup. They are still together by the way, if anything, it has brought them closer.

Maddie Campion: Mad Money (Work in Progress) Maddie Campion

In 2008 Katie Holmes didn't reprise her role as Rachel Dawes in the acclaimed Batman Begins follow up, The Dark Knight. Instead she chose to make the movie "Mad Money", which was both a critical and commercial flop. In this stand-up show Maddie Campion argues that Katie Holmes made the right decision.<br/>Join her in this show about career choices, capitalism and billionaires. Maddie Campion is a "very inventive and dry writer" **** (Funny Women), has "fresh-faced delivery and a sprinkling of quirkiness" (The List), and a previous show was described as "a show like no other" (Daily Info). She's previously been shortlisted for the BBC New Comedy Award and appeared on BBC Three.

Second Home Charlotte Chimuanya

This story starts in Galway, Ireland - 2002 when Naomi is just 10 years old, wild and free. She’s used to mending her heart but will this final blow be the ultimate betrayal?
Follow this little Londoners poetic summers, spent on the West Coast of Ireland. Tackling grief and racism in a place she calls home.<br/>"In this foreign land, I thought all was grand but I’m starting to feel a little bit too tanned.” - Second Home<br/>“So much passion, dynamic and gripping.” – Audience Member
“Subliminal messages. The type of art I appreciate. Puts your brain to work.” – Audience Member
“Incredible poetic account of life as a mixed race young girl in a white land.” – Audience Member<br/>Second Home has been chosen to be published by Nick Hern Books, along with four other plays from this years festival.

Blow: A Deaf Girl’s Fight Tramp

A Deaf girl fights prejudice in a tough 80s boxing gym. Part play. Part immersive show. Part musical. <br/>A finalist in Pleasance Theatre's Charlie Hartill Award, Blow challenges how we treat d/Deaf and disabled people on stage, screen, and in real life. <br/>When 18 year old deaf girl Hannah wants to join Dennison’s Boxing Gym, she’s shunned by the boxers because of her disability, until trainer Bradley takes her under his wing. Blow follows Hannah’s journey from outcast to championship contender.<br/>A punchy 55 minute show that’s part play, part immersive, and part musical, Blow asks tough questions of the audience about how d/Disabled people are portrayed on stage and screen, and how society treats them in real life.<br/>All shows are BSL interpreted.

Wigs Snatched, Perceptions Destroyed Erinn Dhesi

You need 'Wigs Snatched, Perceptions Destroyed'! A show that will teach you to:<br/>- Turn #ClinicalDepression into a #MinimalistAesthetic!<br/>- Cultivate a strong #instagay vibe to prevent girls on Hinge from ghosting you!<br/>- Come up with content ideas that will transform you into a woke Intersectional Feminist, including scripted apologies for your eventual demise because someone found racist/homophobic/sexist (delete as appropriate) tweet from Year 10!<br/>Like, subscribe and book your ticket huns x

Life and Death of a Journalist Jingan Young, Alex Chang and Archie Macleod

Inspired by Hong Kong reporters LIFE AND DEATH OF A JOURNALIST follows LAURA (Lucy Roslyn, 'Orlando') a reporter who returns to London after covering the Hong Kong protests only to be offered a job of a lifetime by editor VICKY (Melissa Woodbridge). But there's one catch to this golden opportunity. The newspaper begins to increasingly censor itself to appease its Chinese investor. <br/>Will LAURA sacrifice her relationship with Hong Kong born MARK in order to change it from the inside? The play looks at journalism from a female perspective and tackles China's tightening grip on freedom of speech (as seen in the Guardian). Directed by Max Lindsay.

Fragility of Man David William Bryan

After a total sell out at Edinburgh Fringe and a 150+ date tour, David William Bryan (as seen in 'In Loyal Company' & 'Trashed') returns to Vault Festival for the third consecutive year. This tour de force drama follows a twelve-year-old homeless fighter through the Thatcher years and and the rise of the ecstasy era. A poetically grimy punch in the face exploring the ultimate, lifelong battle with the penal system.<br/>Are we already sabotaged by our genes to repeat the mistakes of the generations before us? Or do we have the power to break the tragic cycle? <br/>Edinburgh Fringe total sell out run in 2019<br/>Reviews for David's work:<br/>'A tour de force' (Scotsman)
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Orange in the Subway Orange-You-Glad & Burt Dingles Unconscious Productions

You might laugh, you might cry, or you might be dead inside - Who are we to judge?<br/>'Ere lands a young comic genius, whose stage is a cold Cardiff pavement.
Will the Orange glow of the street lamp shine a brutally funny truth on the magic around her, or highlight the mundane?<br/>W**kers to G*ds. Cardiff to Outer space. Obsolete to Oranges. <br/>We have a laugh don't we! Why not come see.<br/>"Like a philosophy lesson that doesn't wreak your head"<br/>"It had fire. No really, it had real fire. Flames. Its the real deal"<br/>"Homelessness has gone up by 300% and this discusses in a compassionate and vibrant way- that the homeless, are just people, like you and me" - One of the cast's mam.<br/>*****

Killing It Josephine Starte, Lily McLeish and Ameena Hamid Productions Ltd

A young man goes missing at sea.<br/>His girlfriend does what the traditions of her culture demand and turns her loss into a stand-up show.<br/>His mother takes comfort from her YouTube audience and her son’s best friend.<br/>His grandmother is not paying attention because she is busy plotting the assassination of the US president.<br/>KILLING IT is a comitragedy about the pressure to make grief useful.<br/>Written by Josephine Starte. Longlisted for the Bruntwood Prize. Starring industry veteran, Janet Henfrey. Directed by Lily McLeish.
Produced in association with Ameena Hamid Productions Ltd

Max & Ivan: Commitment Max & Ivan

Say ‘I do’ to the triumphant return of Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominees Max & Ivan, as seen in BBC One’s W1A and heard on BBC Radio 4’s The Casebook of Max & Ivan.<br/>Commitment is the TRUE STORY of the unreasonable lengths one best man (Max) will go to in order to give one groom (Ivan) the greatest weekend of his life.<br/>It’s a show about dreaming big, growing up, and trying – but ultimately very much failing - to make it in the band.<br/>Directed by three time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Kieran Hodgson.<br/>‘A doozy of a comedy show... terrific’ **** Guardian
‘Astonishing gag rate... Commitment is a thing of joy’ ****½ Chortle
'An ingenious, affectionate two-man spectacular' **** Times
***** Theatre Weekly ***** RGM ***** Rule of Three
**** Wee Review **** Beyond The Joke **** Skinny
**** List **** Fest **** BroadwayBaby **** BroadwayWorld

Zoo Lily Bevan/Anteater

After hit runs at Assembly, Edinburgh and Theatre 503 - 'Zoo' returns to the stage to coincide with publication by Nick Hern (text available for sale at VAULT 2020).<br/>Welcome to ‘Cherokee Valley Zoo and Conservation Centre’, where the most dangerous event to ever take place was the Tapir's caesarian section. But when a hurricane heads straight for Miami, Bonnie rushes to keep her animals safe. Across the world in the Yorkshire dales – Carol feels the repercussions. However, the danger turns out to be deeper and darker than the weather.<br/>A play about 'climate change' both in the weather and in the discussion of the female experience, our relationships to the natural world, and perceptions of a life well lived.<br/>What do you do when you’ve always liked animals more than people and suddenly those animals are under threat? How do the decisions we make in a crisis shape our destiny?<br/>Sometimes our loyalty and commitment make us who we are... sometimes we drink too many margaritas and go home with Ian Butterwick, giant otter expert and notorious zoo lothario.<br/>From Lily Bevan - co-writer of Talking to Strangers w/Sally Phillips (BBC Radio 4) and writer/performer of Pheasant Plucker (Edinburgh sellout 2015) comes this glorious story of two complex, funny, awkward women. A tale of tragedy, courage, flamingoes and the need to escape.

Chloe Petts: Alpha (Work in Progress) Chloe Petts

Rising star Chloe Petts presents a work-in-progress of her stand-up show, Alpha. She explores gender and sexuality and considers why she's so violent during non-contact sports... and contact sports to be honest. Expect introspection, outrospection and big laughs.<br/>Chloe is an alumna of the prestigious Pleasance Comedy Reserve, has been shortlisted for the BBC Comedy Award, was a finalist of Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year Awards 2017 and came runner-up in the Funny Women Awards 2017.<br/>She was recently heard on BBC Five Live’s Fighting Talk and has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts and BBC 3 Quickies.<br/>She is a co-founder of The Lol Word, a queer comedy collective that hosts sell-out monthly London nights, boasting the finest female and non-binary queer acts on the circuit. Their most recent Edinburgh run was a sell-out. Diva Magazine has described it as “a space that is demographically queer, inclusive, and safe, and on top of all of that – the comedic talent is smart, insightful, hilarious, and completely relatable.”<br/>"Petts... is confident, laid-back, casual – and very funny." - The Guardian
"Inexhaustibly funny mind" - Diva Magazine
"Compelling presence" - Steve Bennett, Chortle

Jamie Oliphant: The Oliphant In The Room Jamie Oliphant

Affable dweeb but viciously misanthropic cyclist, Jamie, takes us through his first years teaching, navigating his way through some fairly explosive ordeals.

Jonny Donahoe: Forgiveness (Work in Progress) Jonny Donahoe

Forgiveness is about the cycles of abuse that form and affect who we are; if and how we can escape them and move on. Jonny Donahoe is the co-creator and performer of Every Brilliant Thing, which he performed more than four hundred times over four continents, including five months off-Broadway. The show was eventually filmed and screened on HBO. He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, Lucille Lortel Award and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for his performance.
This is his first new solo show in five years.
'Painfully honest, funny, joyous... possibly one of the funniest plays you'll ever see, full stop' (Guardian).
Jonny Donahoe is an actor, comedian, playwright, screenwriter, broadcaster, musician, orthodox off-spinner, decent slip-catcher, capable swimmer.<br/>He is the frontman of musical-comedy-satirists, Jonny and The Baptists, as well regularly performing stand-up in his own right. His play “30 Christmases”, (starring himself and Rachel Parris), premiered at The Old Fire Station in Oxford, before transferring to the New Diorama Theatre in London. Upcoming is a twelve-part series on parenthood with real-life partner Josie Long called “Josie and Jonny Are Having a Baby (With You)” for American Podcast Network, Stitcher.<br/>“One of the funniest plays you’ll ever see ... and a phenomenally engaging performance from Jonny Donahoe”
Lyn Gardner in The Guardian on Every Brilliant Thing<br/>”The duo have the political edge of 80s alternative comedy but Jonny Donahoe has the pop soul voice to win X Factor”
Stewart Lee in The Observer on Jonny & The Baptists

Carl Donnelly: Shall We All Just Kill Ourselves Carl Donnelly

Double Edinburgh comedy award nominee, Carl Donnelly returns with an all new show searching for meaning to life. Failing that he is starting a death cult. “Observational genius” - The Guardian

Tony Law – Identifies Strip Light

Tony Law identifies as a Hominid.<br/>Homo Sapiens, Neanderthal, Indo-European horse tribesman, an Englishman, a Canadian, a norn iron man and a Trinidadian and a Tobagonian. A dog, a dog owner, owned by a dog, a surrealist, an absurdist and an artist who is comedy of person. A parent a thrower a catcher a reader and a farmer.<br/>His 16th show is turning out to be his best yet. For connoisseurs of comedy who have seen it all and are funny in their own bones. Top drawer Tony. Comedians comedian comedian for the comedy nerd seeking Dadaist nirvosis nirvana blap.<br/>‘WILD, UTTERLY ABSURD AND MAGNETIC.’ **** Broadway World

ARABITCH Pigs In Residence

ARABITCH is a semi-autobiographical show that explores the relationship between LGBTQ+ and Arab cultural identities. Through Drag, spoken word and cabaret we meet ARABITCH, aka Sara, as she weighs up the decision to come out to her conservative Iraqi mother; meeting mentors along the way (like Abu Nuwas, a dead queer Iraqi poet) and enemies (casually racist twinks at G-A-Y). ?
The show asks questions about racism in the LGBTQ+ community and the homophobia in Arab communities and how both these inform the experiences of people who identify as both.
In short, ARABITCH is a show about finding community, consolidating conflicting identities, and looking to oneself for acceptance and validation.

Silent Comedy: Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. with Live Score The Lucky Dog Picturehouse

Step in to our 1920s cinema as The Lucky Dog Picturehouse musicians present their irresistible mix of classic silent comedies and original live scores!<br/>King of Comedy Buster Keaton directs and stars in his Hollywood hit SHERLOCK JR.(1924) as a young, unlucky-in-love projectionist. When a robbery leaves his honour in tatters, he must turn detective - but will he solve the crime?<br/> Complete with death-defying stunts, jaw-dropping special effects and even a bit of romance, it's not hard to see why this film consistently finds itself on TIME magazine's 'Best 100 movies of all time'.<br/>With supporting shorts<br/>Nicholas Barber, BBC Culture “Silent Film has no finer custodians”

Werewolf: Live Treehouse

Come see your favourite Fringe comedians lie, manipulate and backstab as they try to uncover the murderous werewolves in this fresh take on the comedy panel show. Ghost mayor Jon Gracey (The Beta Males) hosts. New guest lineup every show!<br/>Previous guests include Nish Kumar, Rose Matafeo, Daniel Sloss, Mae Martin, Marcus Brigstocke, Sofie Hagen, Nick Helm, Jayde Adams and loads more.<br/>Expect chaos.<br/>Best Newcomer nominee at Brighton Fringe 2017.<br/> ***** -<br/>'A rare and special experience' -

V+15 Nevertheless Theatre Company

“You’re going to use the truth to make people care; you’re going to use words to bring people together; and you’re going to give people the courage to fight back.” <br/>After years in the shadows, Alina and Vincent can stay silent no longer. But when personal beliefs have political consequences, fighting the good fight is not as straightforward as it seems. <br/>Jo Sutherland's tense political thriller asks what we believe in and what we’d risk to stand up for those beliefs. <br/>V+15 is the inaugural production of Nevertheless Theatre Company. Nevertheless exists to platform female voices and to produce work that interrogates identity, power, and politics in twenty-first century Britain.

Tamar Broadbent: Role Play (Work in Progress) Tamar Broadbent

A brand new stand-up comedy show from Tamar Broadbent (BBC Radio 4, Comedy Central, Boom Chicago). <br/>Tamar's had a truly international year. She's been working at improv theatre Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, where she has an American housemate, a Canadian boyfriend, and has been attempting to decipher Dutch people. <br/>Living in Europe in the wake of Brexit, running from the past and navigating nearly turning 30, Tamar has been on many new adventures, including revelatory non-drinking marathons and accidentally signing up with a very kind and ineffective personal trainer. Join her for this heartfelt and joyful comedy show that tackles some of life's biggest dilemmas: the Pomeranian versus the Great Dane? are we doomed to follow the patterns of our parents? and whose job is it to deal with the house ghost? <br/>***** EdFestMag. ***** Female Arts. ***** Broadway Baby. ***** West End Frame. ***** Forge. **** The Australia Times. **** Fest. **** The Stage. **** The Skinny. **** One4Review. **** LondonTheatre1.

Sasha Ellen Offends the Elders (Work in Progress) Sasha Ellen

Sasha Ellen struggles to explain her life choices at the best of times, let alone to the matriarch of her clan, her ball-busting, no-BS, lived-through-the-war-and-can't-wait-for-the-next-one grandmother. Sasha has tried and failed to follow in the footsteps of the great matriarch, from giving blood with disastrous consequences to forcing modern men to write her poetry. It's not easy, being a millennial, trying to explain to an elderly lady that turkey ham is not vegetarian. A storytelling, stand-up show about how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
“Honest, hilarious and horrifying... the comedy future looks good for Ellen”-Canal-St
"Genuinely engaging show"- Broadway Baby
Material heard on BBC Radio 4

IMOGENÉ: the improvised pop concert The Delight Collective

IMOGENÉ is more than just a concept - she’s a sensation; an over-the-top diva on the brink of pop immortality. But first - due to time constraints related to the physical demands of binge-watching five series of Poldark - she must enlist the help of the audience to create her ground-breaking new album in time to present it to chart-topping music producer Mark Ronson... tonight!!! <br/>Part improvised pop-concert, part confessional clown show, IMOGENÉ is the brand new show from Bristol based theatre company The Delight Collective, known for their 4th wall breaking, hilariously interactive shows. <br/>Joining IMOGENÉ on her star-spangled journey, the audience will be taken on a high-octane ride of riotous music, physical comedy and wild monologues which explore themes of gender identity, feminism, polyamory, sexuality, rape culture and consent. Like all concert-goers, the audience will be dazzled by light-shows, multiple costume changes, dry ice and excessive amounts of glitter but they will also help create Imogene's new album - catapulting each and every one of them to pop's hall of fame.<br/>IMOGENÉ will be accompanied by live improvised music from Jack Orcozo Morrison. <br/>WARNING: Strong chance of audience interaction, costume changes, excessive glitter and oversharing.<br/>Audience Feedback
'Fun, free and liberating... I LOVE IMOGENÉ!'<br/>'An improvised pop diva with a difference...'<br/>'Go and see this will make you see the world differently'<br/>‘Camp, outrageous and wickedly funny, IMOGENÉ is a comedy force to be reckoned with.’
Caitlin Campbell, Artistic Director of The Bristol Improv Theatre<br/>Devised by Imogen Palmer and Jack Drewry (Tremolo Theatre). Performed by Imogen Palmer and Jack Orozco Morrison.

The Sian Clarke Experience Sian Clarke

This is Sian Clarke’s ode to every man who has belittled her, made her feel unsafe, objectified her, told her she can’t be funny, called her a slut, told her to smile more... <br/>A comedic piece using a dark, twisted mixture of aggression, laughter and discomfort to examine the constraints of a woman biting back in a society eager to silence and vilify those no longer willing to accept its bullsh*t.<br/>Either that... <br/>Or a show about a woman who just needs to learn to take a joke... <br/>There will be screaming, there will be barking, there will be blood... <br/>Welcome to The Sian Clarke Experience.

Butterfly Bedlam Chorus

An Elizabethan woman stitches a beard from her pubic hair to marry the woman she loves. A Punjabi-speaking Muslim girl tries to make her parents understand who she is by translating the untranslatable. A drag queen fighting in World War II must literally lip sync for her life.<br/>In a subterranean network of tunnels deep beneath London, a band of real-life queer misfits from across time have gathered. These are people you’ve never heard of, with extraordinary stories they’ve never shared. But now - through monologue, dance, music, glitter and lots and lots of noise - they’re raising the roof. They’re creating vibrations which they hope will reverberate up through the thick, muddy layers of time, into the right-here-right-now. “Deeply moving yet extremely funny” (Inter:Mission), butterfly is a show full of laughs, goosebumps and wonder in equal measure.