by John Fowles

Adapted by Mark Healy

Premiere - Derby Playhouse, 2nd October 1998

Mark with Danielle Tilley

Mark with Danielle Tilley (Miranda)


Derby Playhouse

Stalking hadn't been given a name in 1963 when John Fowles published his first novel, on which this disturbing adaptation is based. But he chillingly anatomised the dangers of an obsessive love for another person. a person whose real nature remains unknown to the deluded stalker. Fowles used the metaphor of the butterfly collector who traps exquisite creatures in order to keep them in a box, which is more or less what happens to the all student Miranda when she becomes the fluttering victim of her bank clerk pursuer. The butterfly image is beautifully realised in Steven Richardson's design for Mark Healy’s stage adaptation, making effective use of video to communicate the obsessive gaze of the collector. Mark Letheren’s young clerk, updated to being a lottery millionaire, sustains a buttoned-up, prissy appearance of rationality almost to the end, which makes his madness all the more sinister. As his victim. Danielle Tilley runs the gamut of incomprehension, fear and anger, and the humiliation of an attempt at the seduction of her abductor. As in all adaptations there are sacrifices: we lose most of Miranda’s counter-narrative from her secret diary, nor are we very much the wiser as to the psychological reasons for the collector’s poisoned passion. The horror is the thing, and in Mark Clements’s quality production — a collaboration with the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh it is fully realised. RH