The Amber Trap follows a female couple Katie (Olivia Rose Smith) and Hope (Fanta Barrie) who work in Jo's (Jenny Bolt) corner shop in Manchester. Michael (Misha Butler) is a new employee who will change the dynamics in the shop.
Playwright Tabitha Mortiboy was inspired to write this play due to the lack of representation she sees of female same-sex relationships on stage, and, in fact, it is nice to see an authentic gay couple on stage.
Katie complains that life at the supermarket is boring. Day after day, they see the same customers, the job can be quite repetitive, although providing a sense of security. Jo has problems with her husband; she seems to be a victim of physical abuse who finds hard to leave him. For Katie, Hope and Jo the shop is, probably, a sanctuary. A safe place. Until Michael arrives. He just needs some work experience and money, as he plans to become a doctor. He is only 18, but he has clear ideas about his future and he is determined to achieve his goals.
While Katie is nice to him and enjoys teaching Michael the job, Hope is openly hostile to him, even before his arrival. It is not clear why she is so cold, considering that the newcomer is friendly and keen to learn the job, at the beginning.
I won't say too much on here to not spoil the plot, but Michael's transformation will change forever the ordinary life of the couple. There are good performances indeed – Misha is great in his creepiness - and the set is well designed. But the story flows in a predictable way towards a hurried end , focusing more on the events (neither frightening nor particularly original) than on the personalities of the characters (there is too little background about Michael or why Hope is so unfriendly).
It runs until 18 May
Photo: The Other Richard