Mark Healy adapts for the stage John Fowles’ classic novel which tells the story of Frederick, a butterfly collector, who after falling in love with Miranda decides that the only way to approach her is to kidnap her and keep her in the basement of his newly bought country house. Frederick is indeed a disturbed individual, or even a psychopath one could say, who becomes so fond of her that desired to add her to his collection in a way! Daniel Portman, although being a strong performer, does not seem a perfect match for this part as he was lacking something of the frail insecurity that Frederick’s character possessed, and comes out as rather strong and nice instead.
As far as the venue was concerned it was indeed the ideal setting for the specific play. The Vaults truly captured the claustrophobic cellar in which Miranda was trapped – even the smell added on to the audience’s experience! As for the regular trains’ sounds passing overhead it just made it even more unsettling! Lily Loveless was strong as the beautiful Miranda, with a lovely voice and presence.
Overall, though, the production lacked pace and energy. Even though the play sets off as an interesting and tense psychological thriller, it loses its strength as it goes on for too long without much happening. The characters seem rather flat and underdeveloped at times, while they fail to keep the audience at the edge of their seats. It is an interesting production – in a special venue as well – but it is unfortunate that the story itself does not allow space for a lot of excitement.