Review: Daniel Portman and Lily Loveless in The Collector, The Vaults
Mark Healy's adaptation of John Fowles novel is set in the basement of a remote country house. This revival, directed by Joe Hufton, is being performed at The Vaults, underneath Waterloo station. You leave the daylight and head into the dark tunnels - could there be a more appropriate venue for a play in which a young woman is kept locked up in a windowless, damp room?
Daniel Portman who plays the gentle, kind and innocent Podrick in Game of Thrones plays the socially awkward Frederick Clegg who, helped by a big lottery windfall, decides to 'win' the girl he is obsessed with. Only his idea of winning her is to kidnap and lock her up in the specially prepared basement. 'Her' is Miranda (Lily Loveless) a middle-class art student whom his has admired from afar, shyness and social divide stopping him from approaching her. Today he would be called a stalker.
Daniel Portman's Frederick is just too polite and, well, nice. He's romantic, coy and naive and it is only at the very end that you see a different side to him, a side that hints at something darker and dangerous but by then it really is too late. And for her part, Lily Loveless's Miranda just never seem scared enough considering the situation she is in.
The exchanges between Frederick and Miranda examine class divide. Frederick exposes her snobbishness while he has a working class chip on his shoulder. The class grievance is more about status and social mobility, rather than wealth, which drags the play back to the 1960s which is when the novel was written.
On paper The Collector has all the makings of great psychological thriller but it is the venue that proves the more atmospheric which is a real shame. It is two and a half hours including an interval and is at The Vaults until 28 August. I'm giving it three stars.