‘All Aboard! At Termination Station’ Is A Hilarious Yet Moving Show About Abortion: Review

all aboard at termination station
Image credit: Veronika Mills

Content warning: this review contains discussion of abortion


The floor of Bunker One at The Pleasance is filled with an assortment of props: a weighted hula hoop, a ribbon, green and purple glowsticks, an umbrella and a pair of sunglasses. To kick off All Aboard! At Termination Station, the lights fade as sombre soundbites from news pieces about abortion play. The voices gradually get louder and overlap more, which creates a sense of urgency and foreboding. Just as it feels like it’s getting too much, Lilly Burton bursts in, clad in hot pink sequins and a train conductor hat. Like a switch, she changes the mood into a party atmosphere as she delves into her story.

When Lilly gets pregnant at the age of 19, she doesn’t know where to turn. Due to a lack of knowledge, barriers within the healthcare system and stigma around abortions, she almost misses the legal cut off to have the procedure. It is her mission to destigmatise abortion: as she points out, 1 in 3 women will have one before they are 45.

It’s easy to forget that for most of the performance, Burton is acting as her nineteen-year-old self. She rejects the notion that women who get abortions are victims, and uses humour to engage the audience. Some jokes are dark, but most are witty and clever. At one point, Lilly crawls inside herself, visiting her womb to address the “unwanted guest” and marvelling at how wonderful, yet messy, the inside of her body is. In one particularly funny scene, she interacts with a “real eggstate agent” to get a referral to evict the tenant from her womb. It is represented by an orange, complete with googly eyes and a moustache, and joined by two other fruits to represent later abortions that Burton went on to have.

Burton is an incredibly charismatic performer, and has each audience member eating out the palm of her hand. You cannot help but like her as she jumps, dances and struts around the room. She’s energetic, over the top, and hilarious, but most importantly, incredibly vulnerable. At the end, the humour and chaos is stripped away as she reveals more of her story. This production is for nineteen-year-old Lilly, who felt so ashamed and alone, but it is bound to resonate with many more women.

As funny and entertaining as it is moving, All Aboard! At Termination Station is an important production that is sure to make an impact on audience members.

All Aboard! At Termination Station will be performed at Pleasance Courtyard – Bunker One from 22-28 August at 3:30pm as part of Edinburgh Fringe.

Words by Ellen Leslie

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