Tunde and Bola are nine-year-old girls from Nigeria sold into sexual slavery somewhere in the UK, played with wide eyes and guileless charm by Samantha Pearl and Danielle Vitalis. We meet them in the small room where they’re held captive. The room contains nothing but two sleeping mats and the paltry “treasures” they’ve unearthed there – an abandoned shoe, a broken bracelet, a pendant that will protect them…
The girls are clearly terrified – they fear that even we may be spirits, demons that enter via their dreams – but they are far from downbeat. You don’t have to go to school here, you can watch TV all day and listen to the radio. Their favourite programme is Prison Break and they like to dance to Beyonce; they demonstrate the way the men who visit like them to swivel their hips and wiggle their bums, which makes them giggle.
All their horrific experiences are told in just such an unaffected way: they don’t understand what’s happening to them but we do, and their ignorance makes our knowledge of their plight and robbed innocence weigh all the more heavily.
It’s only 30 minutes long, but Rebecca Prichard’s two-hander, commissioned by Clean Break theatre company, feels like a very big, important play about the evil that can be inflicted on children and their incredible resilience in the face of it.