Camden Fringe: The Collector, Upstairs at the Gatehouse
Author: Everything Theatre in Off West End, Reviews 19 August 2013 0
Part of the Camden Fringe 2013
Adapted for stage by Mark Healy
Presented by Peppered Wit productions
Pros: Compelling, well-acted piece which really made me think.
Cons: Some of the more serious action doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being acted naturalistically.
Our Verdict: Chilling and thought-provoking. Well worth seeing.
Courtesy of Peppered Wit Productions
It’s been while since I have been to the theatre and come away genuinely not knowing what to think. The issues explored in this updated version of The Collector by Peppered Wit Productions at Upstairs at the Gatehouse made me reconsider the complexity of modern relationships. The delusion and dangerous simplicity bound up with longing and unrequited desire. The cruel ease with which social status, first impressions, self-worth and isolation can dictate the way we interact with others. How social structures can disenfranchise us, not just materially but also emotionally and intellectually. How easily we judge one single act as wrong without fully considering the motivations. How chillingly easy it is for us to justify our own actions.
The collector of the title is socially repressed Frederick Clegg. He works in a job centre, collects natural specimens in his spare time, and ardently admires art student Miranda from afar. He is far too shy to talk to her. He knows she wouldn’t give him the time of day anyway. So when he unexpectedly wins the lottery, he buys a house in a remote part of Surrey and abducts her. He sets her up in his cellar, promises to treat her respectfully and to give her everything she could possibly want, except her freedom. His motivation? If Miranda and he could just spend some quality time together, just the two of them, away from everything else, maybe Miranda would get to know him properly and like him for who he is.
Obviously this rationale is seriously flawed, and abduction and imprisonment are fundamentally wrong. Nevertheless, the play is an interesting exploration of the relationship which develops between two characters who turn out not to be as easily pigeon holed as you may expect. The roles of victim and bully are not simple; they’re interchangeable and you come to realise that, to a degree, we are all victims of our own circumstance.
The small company of two were excellent and effortlessly believable. I was genuinely unsettled by Frederick Clegg (Rob Hall) throughout the piece but also often felt sorry for him. I found Miranda (Tara Lacey) annoying and precocious, but admired her strength of character. The piece was cleverly staged and directed in the small but well-fitted-out Gatehouse Theatre. Projections were used cleverly, to hinge the action together and portray scenarios where Miranda was permitted to step foot out of her cellar.
The Collector was chilling and compelling but punctured with humour at the correct moments. There were times when the naturalistic style perhaps made the piece a little less believable. The scenes near the end of the play where the characters physically fought together felt a little laboured, but were necessary to the plot.
This piece is more thought-provoking and complex than a review of this length can give credit to. It tied my thoughts up without offering to untangle them and for this it is my favourite piece so far from this year’s Camden Fringe.
Seen the show yourself? Agree or disagree? Submit your own review with our Camden Fringe Big Audience Project!
Unfortunately The Collector has finished its run as part of Camden Fringe, but catch it on the 11th September at the Mill Arts Centre in Banbury. Box office: https://www.themillartscentre.co.uk/wps/wcm/connect/micro/millarts/events/millarts-whatson.
Tagged with: CAMDEN FRINGE 2013 JOHN FOWLES MARK HEALY PEPPERED WIT PRODUCTION ROB HALL TARA LACEY THE COLLECTOR UPSTAIRS AT THE GATEHOUSE
Camden Fringe: Hallelujah House, Etcetera Theatre
Camden Fringe Audience Feedback: Peaceful
ABOUT EVERYTHING THEATRE
Founded in 2011, Everything Theatre started life as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts and – thanks to the Entry Pass Scheme for 16-25 year olds – regular National Theatre goers. Today, we are run by part-time volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds. Among our various contributors are people who work in theatre, but also people who work in law, medicine, events, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for the London theatre scene.
Afterglow, Southwark Playhouse – Review
14 June 2019
Pictures of Dorian Gray, Jermyn Street Theatre – Review
14 June 2019
J’Ouvert, Theatre 503
10 June 2019
to search type and hit enter
HARPER REGAN, TABARD THEATRE
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
#REVIEW J’Ouvert @theatre503 ★★★★ – ‘a genuinely hilarious play that has a lot to stay and still kills you with la… https://t.co/CJMxxEdM6F 2 hours ago
TWO DAYS UNTIL @ShitHappensLDN a one-woman multidisciplinary performance exploring the taboos and challenges of liv… https://t.co/Qwoqrc6kiF 5 hours ago
Come on a journey to a familiar yet unknown world @TristanBates 18-22 June. @ShitHappensLDN a new one-woman show cr… https://t.co/hKgT1xChRZ 2019/06/15
Coming to @TristanBates 18-22 June @ShitHappensLDN is a one-woman multidisciplinary performance exploring the taboo… https://t.co/952eD8kfIc 2019/06/14
#REVIEW Kill Climate Deniers @ThePleasance ★★★★ – ‘A lovingly crafted satirical swipe at climate change issues tha… https://t.co/5P1eGZaNNT 2019/06/14
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
First name *
Last name *
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
© Everything Theatre 2011-2019
Mmmm, cookies…. This site uses them to make your experience better. More info