Icelandic writer and director Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir’s Bitter Sweet explores a toxic relationship in a harrowing duet between a man and a woman holding on by a thread. With stripped back dialogue, powerful silence, subtle music and clever lighting, love is put before our eyes as a condition that we can question, but not necessarily be provided with any answers.
Manifestations of love are presented through shifting sequences scattered throughout the course of the five year relationship of M (Ben Blow) and S (Kate Foley-Scott). These two fractured souls alter between moments of tender, loved up snuggles to screaming and abusive fights.
Through the course of the action, distinctions of past and present blur in a visceral and unyielding portrayal of a relationship, exploring betrayal, habit, dependency, guilt, fear and exposing two damaged individuals who are not only hurting each other, but themselves.
Presenting two unlikeable characters in the claustrophobic setting of their small living space could put an audience off, yet their manipulations, brutality and self-obsession is compelling in two convincing portrayals, only marred by the odd lull in energy and a few instances where some moments felt rehearsed.
Gripped in the black hole of a once naïve love transformed into hate, there will be many exchanges onstage that will echo in the memories of the audience, from wide-eyed enthusiasm discussing future plans doomed to see fruition to stone cold silence when there’s simply nothing left to say to one another.
Bitter Sweet titters in the wasteland of crossroads, taking the viewer on a raw journey into the grippingly exhausting unknown of why we continue to hold onto the idea of love even when it inevitably disappoints us. A brave, polished and enveloping production by Black Dingo, in association with Brite Theater.