Regardless of your life experience, every person will be able to relate to this play. The Trap, by Kieran Lynn, takes place in a payday loan shop, and asks the question, who is to blame for the importance that society ultimately puts on money? Lynn cleverly takes the audience to the middle of the story first, throwing us in to a high stakes situation, and as the play continues, we are shown what it is that has brought them to this moment.
Meeting us in said moment are upright, naïve Tom and calculating Clem, played by Jahvel Hall and Sophie Guiver respectively, as they scramble to carry out Clem’s plan to break into their office (we find out why later). Hall and Guiver’s double act as the supposed ‘mastermind’ and sidekick is wonderfully done, kicking off this production with remarkable pace, with the energy of a tennis match as the actors command the space. Hall’s portrayal of Tom is endearing, which plays so well against Guiver’s ever driven Clem. Continuing the entertainment is Alan, the bumbling branch manager of the shop, who is played by Andrew Macbean, as he attempts to appease his boss Meryl, the straight talking regional manager, played by Wendy Kweh. Kweh’s character represents the coldness of business as it responds to the market, as she explains that everyone, including the government, is driven by money. She holds court whenever she is in the room, and the comedic timing of all of these actors makes for some laugh out loud moments. Nevertheless, they are also able to reiterate the seriousness of the situation, giving the play a certain weight, which certainly resonates.
Under Sarah Beaton’s design, Alan’s dishevelled appearance and corduroy suit is humorously contrasted with Meryl’s smart and stylish tailored trouser suit, effectively suggesting the drastically different quality of life that these characters experience. The Omnibus Theatre’s space is set up in a traverse style, with the entire action happening in the middle of the narrow- but effectively used- space, whilst the audience sits facing each other, making for a truly intimate evening.
This play looks at the helplessness and desperation that people feel whilst they work in order to earn money, which belongs to their bills and not them. This is a strong cast, directed by Dan Ayling, purveying humour as well as vulnerability. The Trap’s theme is, sadly, ever so current, giving insight into the continuously growing gap between the rich and the poor and the relentlessly opportunist nature of the payday loan business.
The Trap is playing at the Omnibus Theatre until November 19 2017
Photo: Laura Harling