The Collector (2 stars)

This article is from 2014

The Collector 

Edinburgh Festival Fringe satire set in the aftermath of the Gulf War suffers from pedestrian direction

Despite three strong central performances, and a twisting plot that explores the moral compromises made by both Iraqis and Americans in the aftermath of the Gulf War, The Collector loses much of its impact due to its pedestrian direction.

Following the story of an Iraqi translator in the notorious prisons following the American occupation, Henry Naylor’s script is less satire and horror than an examination of the ways in which a man’s life can be corrupted by the competing forces of freedom and community. Nazir, inspired by hip hop and the ideals of democracy, signs up with the invading force, only to be drawn into a sinister world of threats and torture.

A series of short monologues, it is undermined by the ponderous staging and lack of theatrical flair: while the actors follow the script’s descent into darkness, the procession of them on and off stage in turn grinds the narrative into a predictable crawl. The rhyming introduction and finale suggests a clear, despairing vision and frames the drama in a historical context, yet the story moves when it is most about Nazir and his family’s personal tragedy.

The Gilded Balloon, 622 6552, until 25 Aug (not 11), £10–£11 (£9–£10).

The Collector

  • 2 stars

Henry Naylor / Gilded Balloon After taking over Saddam Hussein's most brutal prison camp, the allied guards become possessed by its evil… A darkly humorous ghost story set during the US occupation of Iraq… Multi award-winning Henry Naylor was a lead writer on Spitting Image, and half of Parsons and Naylor. His two…