Theatre: Stockholm

Written by Peri Wilson on 25th March, 2010

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Stockholm
Written by Bryony Lavery
Direction and Choreography: Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett
Set Design by Laura Hopkins
Starring Socrates Otto and Leeanna Walsman

Presented by the Sydney Theatre Company in association with Frantic Assembly, Stockholm is a thrilling and engaging piece of physical theatre.  Taking a look at the rituals of an emotionally taut relationship, it is a complex and high energy production.

Todd (Socrates Otto) and Kali (Leeanna Walsman) are a couple intensely in love. Together they are creating the ‘perfect day’ in celebration of Todd’s birthday and in anticipation of their approaching holiday to Stockholm. Over the course of the play they begin to reveal the disparity between their fantasies and the much more dangerous and complex reality that they inhabit. Written by Bryony Laverty, the play is an exploration into the storyline that symbiotic lovers create for themselves and the reclusive boundaries they erect against the outside world.

The chemistry between the lovers is central to the success of the production. Walsman and Otto move together like a well oiled machine, they execute a polished and apparently effortlessly smooth performance. They are however, obviously both working hard to create the sense of emotional pressure. Both performances are strong, although at times feel a little over rehearsed. There are some amazing standout moments; the dance depicting their first meeting where with the use of cutlery, the lovers literally devour one another in a sensual dance. Another, an insight into the terrible violence their arguments denigrate into, and the escalating painful paranoia of the wildly possessive Kali.

A sense of growing apprehension is sustained well by Otto throughout the play, as is the familiar tread of oft repeated arguments, the repeated conflicts and emotional warfare that batter the lovers down. It is not until the final opiatic scene, with the lovers entwined together on their bed in the ceiling, that you understand the full shocking implications of Kali’s madness.

The play itself moves from being humorous and sexy, to confronting in its violent emotion. The dances between the lovers are intricately choreographed and filled with dynamic energy. The stage is used marvellously; the set unfolds as the story does, following Todd and Kali through varying levels of their home. The many rooms of the house are an indirect link to the varying levels of the subconscious, and the lovers’ degrees of instability and paranoia.

Stockholm is a well thought through and meticulously planned production. The strong performances and choreography give an intensely moving insight into the lives of people in a destructive and isolated relationship. It is a story that will remain with you long after the lights have dimmed.

Season: 17 March – 24 April

Venue: Sydney Theatre, 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

Tickets: $30 to $70

Bookings: 02 9250 1777 | sydneytheatre.com.au

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