Stockholm Presents a Troubling Portrait of Obsessive Love

Leigh Kennicott Reviews - Theater
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British playwright Bryony Lavery continues a long line of playwrights since Pinter who can present specific case studies while at the same time exposing universal, social maladies. In her 2008 play, Stockholm, she gifts us with an attractive and  vivacious young couple (Kimberly Alexander and Jamie Wollrab), who seem to have everything. They express their satisfaction with life in dressing their apartment with the very best of Ikea’s wares, even anticipating their visit to Stockholm by learning Swedish.

 

But their emphasis on Stockholm has subliminal, troubling implications that unfold during the action of the play. Lavery constructs her work in building blocks of large and small: expansiveness when depicting scenes of living spaces and the outdoors, and compression when the action whittles down in claustrophobic enclosures – the closet under the stairs, or an attic. And she also uses similar combinations of description and dialogue in seamless configurations to tell her story.

 

As intricate as Lavery’s play may be, Tryptich’s production values hold it together. Making best use of the long, narrow stage space at the freshly re-christened Pico, director Kim Rubinstein honors the same building-block motif by carrying the action from one part of the stage to another. Choreographer Stephen Buescher even makes use of wall to move the couple in an undulating pas de deaux of love and cruelty.

The necessarily spare set by Anna Robinson (who also provides the projection design) is set off by a centralized Swedish-style kitchen, and offset by the bare minimum for each of the other locations. Lily Blue’s costumes provide style, ease, and flexibility. The lighting is a challenge, well met by Wesley Charles Chew, who delineates the spaces while balancing film, a gobo-ed fluttering moth, and sequences of light and dark.

Stockholm is an absorbing and disturbing play, albeit well performed by Alexander and Wollrab, both of whom bring laser-like commitment to Tryptich’s superior production.

Triptych Theatre Group presents Stockholm, running at 8pm Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays, and 7pm, Sundays through January 28, 2019 at The Pico, located at 10508  W. Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, 90010. Tickets are $25.  Make reservations at:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .