BWW Review: THE AMBER TRAP, Theatre503
In an ordinary part of the north, Hope and Katie work at their local corner shop. Life is pretty good for them; they know their routine and are happy with it. For Katie, the shop is a safe place for her to be herself; for her to be open with her love for Hope, away from judgement and other people's passing comments.
Jo works tirelessly to keep things ticking over. It's all very nice. But it all changes when the shop needs another employee to work the close - enter Michael. He seems lovely. He performs magic tricks, juggles and knows every bone in the human body. His charisma allows him to warm to Katie, much to Hope's discomfort.
What appears initially charming in behaviour quickly takes a sinister turn, as Michael proves to be a little unhinged. Tabitha Mortiboy's script throws all of the stalker-esque clichés at you in one go, and when it works, it's brilliant in building the tension. Misha Butler's chilling performance does well to top up the horrific atmosphere.
However, an hour in you check your watch knowing that the play has to end soon, but nothing's really happened. There's been lots of build up, yet the climax rushes through at a mad pace. The main action and resolution goes by in a blink of an eye, and it's here where the narrative becomes a tad too predictable.
Jasmine Swan's set design is superb; her creation of the corner shop contains so much attention to detail. It's a rather stunning sight. Hannah Hauer-King draws out strong performances from her cast. It's refreshing to see a queer relationship on stage that doesn't focus on trauma and struggle.
Both Katie (Olivia Rose Smith) and Hope (Fanta Barrie) as the young couple are believable for the most part. They share smooches, drink vodka and are infectiously excited about their companionship. It's here where Mortiboy's script really comes to life; she writes queer joy and sweetness very well.
Photo: The Other Richard