Edinburgh 2022: Review: SILKWORM, Assembly Roxy - Upstairs

A witty, beautiful production about love, fear, and the brutality of seeking asylum.

By: Aug. 25, 2022
Edinburgh 2022: Review: SILKWORM, Assembly Roxy - Upstairs
Edinburgh 2022: Review: SILKWORM, Assembly Roxy - Upstairs In the beautiful lofts of Upstairs at Assemby Roxy, a play is starting, even as you enter the room. Two women are sitting in a grim and sparsely decorated flat. The kettle is on (it's on a lot in this production). A buzzing sound is heard; it hurts the ears. The action begins.

In Silkworm, Ewa Dina and Antonia Layiwola play Abidemi and Omolade respectively, two Nigerian asylum seekers escaping persecution because of their sexual orientation and their love for one another. Intersperced between their lives in this depressing Glasgow apartment, we see their interviews with the Home Office. It is there they are asked humiliating questions about their sex lives, how they pleasure one another, how their beliefs tie into it and whether they really, truly would be in jeopardy if they were to be forced back to Nigeria.

At the same time they try to settle into life in their new homeland. Abidemi is more outgoing. She wants go out partying and to get to know the LGBT+ community. Omolade is more reserved and shows signs of depression. Not least because of where they are living and the process she is being made to perform whereby she must prove she has a right not to be sent back to place where she may be in danger or forced into marriage.

The pressure put upon them almost seems like it will tear them apart and it feels heartbreaking. They look at each other with so much love. It is a quiet love: unsure, delicate and burgeoning.

The script, written by Vlad Butucea, is poetic and beautiful. I was lost in the words and the way the two young actors brought them to life. The entire play, produced by Pearlfisher, is well put together. The movement and choreography is canny, the soundtrack is cleverly designed.

Silkworm shows us the brutal realities of modern asylum seeking. You will want to make everything okay for these women and the real people they represent who are going through this right now. It is no wonder the play won the Assembly ART Award 2022. It is utterly fantastic.

Silkworm is at the Assembly Roxy - Upstairs until August 29