Roadkill (4 stars)

This article is from 2010


Relentlessly bleak, necessary drama about sex trafficking

Given that the 12 or so people on the bus from the Traverse presumably know what the play we’re going to see is about, there’s something terrible about the way we indulge the Nigerian teenager who just happens to have boarded the bus with us, asking excited questions about this new city she’s going to live in. We’re about to watch her be sold into prostitution and raped. And we all know it. Because she’s an actor, though, because this is a play, nobody says anything. Instead we smile then look away.

Roadkill, as directed by Cora Bissett, makes it impossible for us to look away for long. We’re ushered into the claustrophobic basement of a New Town flat where we’re stuck with Adeola as the men come and go (usually represented by projections on the walls or relentless litanies of ‘field reports’ on the sex worker review site Punternet). At times this proceeds with the subtlety of a sledgehammer: it doesn’t need to as the fine performances sear into the brain. We’re handed information afterwards about how to help. Let’s.

Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 29 Aug, times vary, £17–£19 (£12–£13).


Cora Bissett's award-winning production exposing the hidden world of sex-trafficking begins with a bus journey as a young woman travels towards Edinburgh and the promise of a new life. Ages 16+.