Directed by Tanya Gerstle
Red Stitch
Until May 26

LIKE the Ingmar Bergman films this pair of love/hate birds likes to watch together, Stockholm creates a claustrophobic and intense domestic world. Todd and Kali are in love with each other and with the cycle of violence and emotional abuse that fuels the engine of this youngish ''folie a deux'' in their perfectly minimal and fashionable apartment with its state-of-the-art kitchen knives and split-level sexiness.

British writer Bryony Lavery's chamber piece moves in and out of third-person heightened narration and first-person domestic naturalism to some excellent effect but it's the acting that really impresses. Brett Cousins and Luisa Hastings-Edge give highly disciplined and compelling performances as the desperately inward-looking couple.

As their night progresses, we are privy to their well-rehearsed dance of dysfunctional desire and abuse, knowing full well that such a cycle will continue for as long as it takes to short-circuit.

The balance in this production needs tweaking because it is neither fully realised physical theatre nor a sufficiently consistent textual miniature. Sometimes it looks like yet another crazy-sexy-woman-and-her-poor-hooked-partner narrative, rather than a nuanced rendering of co-dependence.

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