Reviewed: Stockholm

simultaneously one another’s prisoner and jailer, trapped in a spiral of savagery, sorries, and sex.

stockholm review cheatle

From the moment one lays eyes on the stark, bare set of the 'Stockholm', a somewhat bleak depiction of our lovers' first home, there is the understanding that this is going to be a far from straightforward romance. The bare hanging light fittings, the fading pictures on a wall, the old photographs, a cork-board, all enhance the atmosphere of stagnancy in which the tumultuous relationship takes place; a wonderful blank canvas for actors Emma Cave and Paul Moss to paint their passionate nightmare.

The beauty of this production is that the picture is not painted by dialogue alone. A highly physical play, where dance and synchronised movement convey just as much feeling as that which is articulated, thought is seamlessly melded with motion and executed perfectly by both actors. The actual dance sequences display not only the technical talent of the pair, but the close affiliation of plot-line and the melodies utilised. As the character Kali states, 'They are part of the music and they are the music'; the opening song being a swing version of 'Wuthering Heights' creates a certain unsettling tension from the very first moment.

This is not to say that 'Stockholm' was wholly a production of despair and violence. Despite the sombre subject matter, moments of comedic relief frequently shine out of the piece and are relished by the audience. From amusing one-liners to crude scenes in the kitchen, both Cave and Moss capitalised on the more light-hearted moments to gift the play an immense colour and variation. When so well juxtaposed with the intense anger, portrayed at other points in the script, namely the severe spotlighted monologues and duologues, one could not help but be startled by the constant swinging of the couple's mood.

This, of course, would not have been achievable were it not for the magnificent chemistry between Cave and Moss. Their portrayal of two people so deeply in destructive love was utterly compelling. They hold each other captive – as the play's title denoting the condition 'Stockholm syndrome' may suggest – simultaneously one another's prisoner and jailer, trapped in a spiral of savagery, sorries, and sex.

The corporation of props into the action was also unquestionably resonant with much of the audience. The frequent but subtle use of the knife as a kitchen implement, tool of seduction and weapon gave a constant undercurrent of the brutal. The employment of such objects with the complex choreography and evocative light changes enables touches of the artistic to the mundane.

Once more, DST have created a sublimely professional production which leaves the watcher with something emotionally profound. Every aspect of the production only served to heighten the manic neuroses of its protagonists, creating a play that will have left many as fascinated and fixated by it as Kali and Todd are each other.