Cellars are this season's must have for the budding psychopath as the horrific Fritzl story shows so it's a creepy coincidence that John Fowles' play "The Collector" should be running at the Etcetera Theatre this week.
This two hander works claustrophobically well in "London's smallest theatre". Frederick is a man lacking in social skills and advantages who wins the lottery. He's a repressed lepidopterist nurturing a random and unhealthy infatuation with a vibrant, young, artistic girl, Miranda who has all the passion, beauty, sophistication and privileges he lacks. His financial windfall enables him to collect Miranda with the help of a little chloroform and imprison her in the cellar of a remote cottage he has acquired for this purpose in an attempt to make her love him and live with him.
Frederick is almost a figure of pathos at the outset with Miranda his adored idol, albeit under his lock and key. But the play becomes ever more chilling as Miranda's attempts to manipulate and escape him fail and his mental state unravels in proportion to his frustration and inability to 'have' Miranda as he 'has' his (dead) butterflies. Do not expect a happy ending.
This is an intensely dramatic hour and 20 minute performance with (distressingly) strong performances from Laurence Brown and Rachel Hewer who somehow manage to inject some dark humour into this discomfiting play. Eight quid well spent and food for thought for potential cellar owning psychos.