Bristol Theatre Reviews

Review: Tethered at the Alma Tavern and Theatre Bristol

The beautiful thing about shows at the Alma Tavern and Theatre is that it’s like an 80’s lucky dip. You never quite know what you are going to get with its diverse programme of just about anything goes – from a night of music to high drama.

Tethered – The Adventures of Adequately Excited People, is certainly an interesting pick.

The show actually starts as you arrive into theatre’s intimate auditorium. The stage is adorned with the remnants of kids’ party balloons, tired bunting, all overseen by a skeleton huddled in the corner like Death on a tea break.

Sans and Moins are on stage quietly talking through the show ahead of its start time. They gradually become more audible, with only a slight shift in lighting indicating that the show has officially started.

It’s a play within a play format. Or is it? The setting is surreal. It has an almost dissociative quality, the kind where you wonder if they had died somehow but not noticed. They go through an eternal loop of play rehearsals until it’s perfect, yet never quite moving on and always being tied together.

Between the rehearsing of scenes and the quiet moments of two creatives taking a break, you were left guessing through the second half of the show about what was really going on – but also having the answer slightly out of reach.

Why they are tethered is answered at the moment they try to break free. Why does Sans never leave and why does Moins insist on continuing on. The claustrophobic sense of going round and round in circles, never escaping comes with the question – do they really want to? Decisions are left to chance, the flip of a coin. But was is it really heads? Or tails?

The never-ending play rehearsals, their prison of trying to get things perfect but never quite getting there is like a metaphor for life and the inmates in this are really just the friends you meet on the way as you muddle through.

Tethered is at the Alma Tavern and Theatre until 16 September 2021.

For more information about the company or to book tickets, visit: