Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Stockholm by Bryony Lavery, April 29, 2012, ****
Red Stitch Actors Theatre, St Kilda, April 27 to May 26, 2012
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Brett Cousins & Luisa Hastings-Edge in Stockholm
LUST COUPLED WITH UNBRIDLED JEALOUSY breed violent rage for Todd (Brett Cousins) and Kali (Luisa Hastings-Edge) in Bryony Lavery’s bruising play, Stockholm.
Hostages are known to suffer the Stockholm Syndrome when they sympathise with their captors, and Todd and Kali are caught like hostages in their own dysfunctional, dangerous relationship.
Tanya Gerstle’s taut, confident direction illuminates the relationship in this sensual and passionate production that merges self-narration, direct address, dialogue and intense physicalisation.
On Todd’s birthday, the couple plan to celebrate with a romantic, home cooked meal, shifting from silky sexuality into playful teasing and fantasies about their trip to Stockholm.
When Kali’s ‘retro-jealousy’ escalates into violence, it becomes clear that they are hostages to each other and to their cycle of love, lust and abuse.
The acting is impeccable, credible, detailed and compelling and Edge is sultry, dangerous and vulnerable in her manic-depressive state, leaving us fearing for Kali’s mental health and fearing for Todd’s safety.
Cousins, as Todd, is the still point in the relationship, remaining warm, loving but always at risk and walking on eggshells.
Throughout the hour, we wonder whether this punishing cycle will repeat ad nauseum for this couple, which is a frightening thought.
By Kate Herbert