LiveWire Chicago Theatre at Side Project (see Fringe & storefront). Adapted by Mark Healy from John Fowles's novel. Dir. Christopher Dennis. With Matt Kelly, Michele Kline.
Is there a subject more annoyingly revisited than understanding the mind of some sicko—whether it’s a rapist, murderer or, in this case, deranged kidnapper? Or how about the art student who’s not sure if her work can cut it after graduation? On paper, the prospects don’t look too promising. But perhaps the biggest feat of Healy’s two-person play, which he adapted from John Fowles’s novel, is how the cat-and-mouse game these stock characters endure doesn’t feel hackneyed.
After winning the lottery, working-class nobody Glegg (Kelly) buys a secluded house in the country and kidnaps Miranda (Kline), a cute art student he’s been stalking for months. Glegg is, not surprisingly, the harmless, quiet type. It’s also not particularly shocking when we learn that he’s an avid collector and Miranda, in his eyes, is just an addition, no different from the rare butterflies exhibited in his display case.
But Kelly’s performance imbues a gentle, even warm underbelly to the man—so much so that, in an odd way, you’re almost pulling for him, hoping the girl can afford him some scraps of dignity. When he cuts to one of his many monologues, he doesn’t go for chuckles. Kline, too, is good, opting to keep her breakdowns desperate without seeming artificially frazzled.—Tim Lowery