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Amber - an unorthodox love story


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In his Australian premiere, Chinese theatre director Meng Jinghui explores the concept of love and its changing nature in the fast-paced modern world.

Amber tells the story of Gao, an under-achieving playboy with a penchant for women, gambling and booze who awakens in hospital after receiving a heart transplant.

While there, he meets the mysterious Shen, a withdrawn young woman who claims to be in love with Gao’s heart but not his mind or body. Intrigued by this beautiful stranger, he pursues her and is soon locked in a complicated relationship which will force him to re-examine his approach to life and love.

Performed in Mandarin with English subtitles, Amber is promoted as “an emotionally charged love story”, but the narrative is chaotic. Gao’s plan to get rich quick by writing a bestselling racy novel allows the audience a glimpse of his egotistical, often perverse mind, while Shen’s tragic story unfolds in a painfully slow combination of narrated flashbacks and awkward confrontations.

A series of impromptu music performances and monologues from unnamed characters add to the confusion.


Subtitles are shown on screens positioned above and at both sides of the stage in Her Majesty’s Theatre, but on opening night the two side screens were often blocked by the nearby audience members, while the screen above stage was positioned at an awkward height. There were also times when the subtitles failed to keep up with the actors, making it even more difficult to follow the complex story.

Despite passionate performances from the talented cast, the characters remain unlikable, and their slapstick attempts at humour and often perverse philosophies did little to tickle this reviewer’s funny bone.

Amber is being performed again tonight (October 2) at Her Majesty’s Theatre as part of the OzAsia Festival, which continues until October 4.

Visit InDaily’s OzAsia Festival hub for more reviews and stories

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