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Tethered (Fringe World 2024)

Reviewed by Rachel Doulton


Shibari is a style of bondage taken from the Japanese word meaning “binding” or “tying” where ropes are used to intricately bind someone, and when done well is a captivating art. Tethered presented by Daniel Cox invites audiences to share the space with partners who give us an insight into this beautifully erotic display.

Performed in the round at Gold Digger in Fringe World’s Pleasure Garden, we open with a woman in white entering into the space; a round rug, three stones circling wrapped in rope and a bundle covered in a silk handkerchief. She is accompanied by a piano as she kneels centre stage and waits for her partner. Her partner then enters the space and reveals that beneath the silk handkerchief, there is a mass of bundled ropes. What follows is a stunning showcase of trust and intimacy between them.

This show wasn’t sexy in the way you would expect from a late-night Fringe show. It was sexy in the way trust, intimacy, and surrender are sexy. The man who was enacting the binding was calm and controlled and he was constant in his attention to her and her reactions to his work. They both worked together as if the audience was not even there to bear witness.

Even though his partner was tied precariously, you never felt she was in danger under his care. She was his canvas for his art. This image was painted further as she was dressed in a simple white linen dress. It was tricky to garner her reaction from where I sat as she was faced away from me for most of the show, however, this allowed a better vantage point to see her partner tying and looping the ropes.

The lighting journeyed through very subtle changes in colour, depth, and brightness throughout, nothing was garishly out of place and complemented the action on stage. The musician at the piano gave the feel of improvisation and he worked well to take his cues from the performers and match their energy and pace.

Something about this show felt like an intrusion into a sacred space; whooping and hollering feels inappropriate unlike other late-night Fringe shows, you are mesmerised into silence. There are two more shows left on the closing weekend of the Festival. An excellent date night to ignite some passion.

Reviewer Note: Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.


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