Stockholm Review – Pleasure, Pain, and a Couple Unraveling

Jamie Wollrab and Kimberly Alexander in STOCKHOLM - Photo by Jordan Horowitz
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The Triptych Theatre Group presents the West Coast premiere of STOCKHOLM. Written by Bryony Lavery, STOCKHOLM lets the audience peek into the very personal lives of the perfect couple. But are they really? Kali (Kimberly Alexander) and Todd (Jamie Wollrab) have been married for some time and always dreamed of the perfect vacation – a trip to Stockholm, Sweden. Today is Todd’s birthday, and Kali wants to make it very special for him. He’s in charge of the food, and she’s in charge of the extra special treats. But the real treat will come tomorrow, when they depart for Stockholm and fulfill a life-long dream.

Jamie Wollrab and Kimberly Alexander – Photo by Jordan Horowitz

STOCKHOLM wanders through lots of relationship territory, territory so incendiary that the lines between reality and fantasy easily blur and even cease to exist. For theirs is a relationship fraught with intensity – and that’s whether they’re making love or declaring war. This perfect, immaculately turned out pair present the perfect façade to the world – and yet, under the surface, a tempest boils. There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain, and this couple seem to have forgotten where that border exists.

Jamie Wollrab and Kimberly Alexander – Photo by Jordan Horowitz

STOCKHOLM starts off slowly, seducing the audience into a calm acceptance of comfortable love (and sex, of course). But soon the tide turns, and that gentle, caring love begins to evolve into something quite different. The ebb and flow of the tale is compounded by seamless choreography as the two dance around each other’s feelings – perhaps to the dance of death – with sinuous and often seductive twists and turns. In fact, STOCKHOLM does an excellent job of turning words and inner thoughts into externalized graceful – and sometimes less than fluid – but always provocative movements. Kali and Todd seem doomed to stay together regardless of the dizzying issues inherent in their coupling – or will they?

Kimberly Alexander and Jamie Wollrab – Photo by Jordan Horowitz

STOCKHOLM is a beguiling foray into the inner workings of two people’s bodies and minds. They may both dream of traveling to Stockholm – but that may be the only destination they have in common. Kim Rubinstein’s direction lures the audience into the darkness of souls in conflict. Both actors are a joy to watch as their weave and parry, each aware of the other while pretending otherwise. Given the absence of a traditional stage set, the full weight of the piece must fall on their shoulders; and they do a superb job of keeping the audience on its toes. Kudos to Stephen Buescher for his gorgeous choreography, so enticing and involving. And a special thanks to Ingmar Bergmann, whose films may have inspired this play.

Jamie Wollrab and Kimberly Alexander – Photo by Jordan Horowitz

STOCKHOLM runs through January 28, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. The Pico is located at 10508 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are $25. For information or reservations, go online.

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