Tether

★★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2015

While both characters in this low key production are committed athletes who traverse great distances over the course of its hour duration, actors Lee Drage and Maisie Greenwood remain more or less fixed on the spot. Attached to harnesses, they run centre stage, their exhaustion mounting in tandem with the tension emanating from Isley Lynn's lean script.

A 2012 Olympic hopeful, Mark never qualified to compete for Britain and comes to regard blind marathon runner Becky as his second shot at competitive success. Assuming the role of her guide, he sets his sights on the Paralympics and pushes her accordingly. As we observe their gruelling training regime, the audience considers the complexities of their co-dependent relationship. The ambitious Mark, it transpires, is blind on a metaphorical level. Becky, meanwhile, can see certain truths despite the permanent darkness in which she's trapped.

Its central premise is all well and good, but what makes Tether a joy to experience are the playful exchanges between the cast. Mark's single-minded drive is almost childlike when faced with Becky's withering cynicism. We admire her character's resolve in the face of a great obstacle, and it's moving to watch Mark comfort her in a moment of weakness. Neither's emotional journey seems forced, while the fact there's actually very little at stake perfectly serves the human element of the play.