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FRINGE 2017 REVIEW: Tessa Coates

This year, Tessa Coates, part of sketch group Massive Dad is going it alone with her first solo Edinburgh hour.

In a room far smaller than she deserves, Tessa performs a show which for a debut is outstanding.

She’s comfortable in front of an audience, she knows how to deliver a joke and she does a great impression of her Anthropology Professor… probably. I mean, I’ve never met her.

Tessa is intellectual and her comedy is clever but she doesn’t allow that to alienate her audience. Her style of comedy is endearing, relatable and at times fascinating.

Why? Because Primates is about human evolution and sex, but don’t worry, it’s far from a lecture. Along the way though, Tessa is able to educate the audience on these topics through humour. For example, if you ever wondered why a penis was the built the way it is, Tessa will gladly explain.

Using a party analogy to explain evolution is genius and received the largest applause of the hour. She also talks about going to an all girls’ school, how former West End Billy Elliot’s are her type and tells a cracking story of how JK Rowling’s friends supported her as she set out to write seven books about a boy wizard.

As has become fashionable at this year’s festival, Tessa talks about dating apps – in particular Tinder and Bumble – but unlike other comedians who shoehorn it into their set, it makes sense for Tessa to do so as a large part of her show is about sex.

This might be Tessa’s first solo show but I’m almost certain that it won’t be her last. Quite what that means for Massive Dad I don’t know, but Tessa shows real potential on her own. Her style of comedy is endearing and offers audiences far more than cheap gags.

With my TV hat on, I can absolutely see Tessa writing her own comedy in the vein of Fleabag and I really hope she does. If Primates has proved anything it’s that Tessa’s quality of writing is of a high-standard and audiences love her.

Read my interview with Tessa here.

★ ★ ★ ★


Tessa Coates: Primates runs until Saturday 26th August at 3:30pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance This). Book tickets here.

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