EUTCO’S ‘The Amber Trap’ Review
Ella Minty reviews EUTCO’S latest performance ‘The Amber Trap’.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Nestled in their small ‘matchbox’ corner shop, Katie (Alice Robinson) and her girlfriend Hope (Ellie Cheevers) pass the days with ease, stealing kisses in between the shelves, which are packed full of a colourful array of products reminiscent of any small corner shop. The girls work alongside manager Jo (Ferdia Fitzsimons) in a calm routine, until new trainee doctor Michael (Lucas Ely) disturbs the peace. This play deals with heavy themes such as consent, toxic masculinity and violence, however natural, free-flowing comic timing, often from Cheevers, complimented and balanced the more serious aspects of the play.
As Michael falls for Katie and starts to manipulate the three women in the shop, the naive character the audience seen at the start of the play morphs into a cruel, entitled person who ignores Katie’s protests at his advances; a man affected by toxic masculinity. Ely carefully portrays the way patriarchal attitudes are created and manifested within society.
EUTCO’s execution of this play is impressive; having been rehearsing since September and undeterred by two national lockdowns, The Amber Trap is a triumph. Audience members are socially distanced and the actors bubbled together to allow physical contact, which is a necessity for the portrayal of Katie and Hope’s relationship. I enjoyed the use of props to create a more natural setting; the orange dropped by Michael early in the play hits the floor and bursts, and Hope swiftly swoops in with cleaning spray and cloth to clean up the mess. The set contributes to the mundanity of the corner shop; shelves dotted around the stage crammed with products and the use of real food and drink, with Katie snacking on crisps and fruit, adds to the natural feel of the play.
Having been rehearsing since September and undeterred by two national lockdowns, The Amber Trap is a triumph
In this way, the play feels immersive. The audience fears for Katie and Jo when they are at their most vulnerable facing Michael. The camaraderie between the actors appears natural, indispersed with moments where the audience is genuinely worried for the welfare of the women in the play. Hope’s bubbly, carefree self is convincingly portrayed by Cheevers, whereas more serious female characters such as Jo and Katie are compelling in an honest portrayal of what it means to be female. A touching scene involves Jo telling Katie to be true to her identity as a woman in a relationship with Hope. Ely’s portrayal of Michael is also convincing, with the portrayal of Michael’s powerful switch from naivety to entitlement as the play progresses.
The Amber Trap tackles some very crucial and current discussions occurring in today’s world; I thoroughly enjoyed this production and thought the standard of acting and the execution of the play was impressive. Please consider donating to their crowdfunder, as they hope to go Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer: