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The Vaults, London

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.

  • Drama
  • By Mark Healy (adapted from the original novel by John Fowles)
  • Director: Joe Hufton
  • Cast: Daniel Portman & Lily Loveless
  • The Vaults, London
  • Until 28th August 2016
  • Review by Emily Louizou
  • 7 August 2016

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Emily Louizou is a professional theatre director based in London. She trained on the MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck College, University of London and at Drama Centre. Prior to this, she completed her BA English at UCL. Over the past eight years, she has been actively involved in theatre; directing, writing or acting. She is the artistic director and founder of Collide Theatre, a collective of emerging artists producing visually exciting new work and reimagining classics. Her last production - TROY - was a new contemporary opera funded by the Arts Council England and based on a modern Greek text that Emily translated and directed. See more of Emily’s work on her website:

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