John Peel Theatre

The Little Theatre at the Heart of Wigton

The Collector
July 2014
The Collector tells the riveting and unsettling story of Frederick Clegg, an obscure clerk in a job centre with a passion for collecting butterflies. He becomes obsessed with Miranda Grey, but because his social skills are non-existent he feels unable to make contact with her.  So he plans to “acquire” her in the same way as he would a butterfly.  So setting the scene for a chilling and deeply unsettling evening of pure theatre.

The open set was enhanced by back projection of the two characters which initially was excellent – but for me I felt it went on just too long.  The set itself was superb – and the fact that there are no windows in the theatre just added to the somewhat atmosphere of being trapped in a cellar!  The back projection as the evening progressed was used very well to deliver monologues in a more interesting and highly effective way.  I particularly liked the fact that we got the required sound effect (whether that was because it was an old projector – which I doubt, or a sound effect is irrelevant) but either way it certainly added to the menace and tension.

I must heartily congratulate both actors: it was a marathon task to undertake and was done very well.  I am always wary of directors ‘directing themselves’ and feel that the only thing that could have improved this evening of pure drama would have been a director who was not playing such a pivotal role in the production
Jordan Tweddle as Frederick made some of the most appalling ideas seem at times almost plausible; due in the main to his masterful performance which combined charm, and chilling delivery in his personification of a delusional sociopath – so that at times we actually felt sorry for him?  In the cold light of day you have to wonder how?

Rowan Reed as Miranda played a good part – although I would have expected more emotion to have been present at times.

The story is one of the strangest and unsettling – almost love stories you are ever likely to encounter, and the terrifying ending that we must learn from our mistakes is tempered by the chilling disclosure that his work will continue, but next time devoid of 'love' – which throughout the play is Frederick’s one redeeming quality.
Very, very many thanks to all connected with this production – I am not sure that ‘enjoy’ is quite the right word but it was an excellent piece of theatre and certainly left me reflecting of the vagaries of human nature.  Thank you.
Christine Hunter Hughes NODA (National Operatic and Dramatic Association)