“There are two sides to every story”
Based on the novel of the same name by John Fowles, The Collector is a psychological thriller that ultimately sits rather uncomfortably in this theatrical form. Max Dorey’s extraordinarily detailed set sits well in the atmospheric surroundings of Waterloo’s Vaults, setting the scene for creepy goings-on, but Mark Healy’s adaptation loses the dual perspective of the novel and thus fatally upsets the storytelling balance.
The Collector is a kidnap drama – Lily Loveless’ Miranda has been abducted by butterfly enthusiast Frederick, a bumbling young man who is new to the kidnap game and is well portrayed by Game of Thrones star Daniel Portman in all his needy awkwardness. But where Fowles deepened his narrative by giving us an account of the story from both perspective, Healy draws the focus in and loses much of what makes these characters interesting.
And Joe Hufton’s direction can’t do much with it either, never garnering the tension that the situation increasingly deserves, never cranking up the psychological intensity that ought to be crackling between the pair as the depth of Frederick’s depravity is revealed. Inserting an interval saps pace as well as intrigue, so a bit of a disappointment then, all told.