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ED FRINGE REVIEW Tessa Coates, Witch Hunt

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Tessa's natural style of comedy is warm, endearing and relatable.

After spending an hour, in a small room in Edinburgh, squashed against a pillar, it's rare that instead of itching for fresh air you itch for the show to carry on that little bit longer. But that's exactly how I felt watching Tessa Coates' second hour, I didn't want it to end.

Why? For the same reasons that I enjoyed her debut show so much. Tessa's natural style of comedy is warm, endearing and relatable and it's just like having a conversation with her. Granted, a very well-written and rehearsed conversation, and one where you do all the listening and she does all the talking, but still.

Tessa is a very visual storyteller, perhaps a benefit or her time in sketch group Massive Dad and her ability to make the hour feel natural and like the first time she's said it is to be applauded.

She might think that her degree in Anthropology is useless but actually Tessa has now managed to use it to write two brilliant Edinburgh shows.

Primates, which was her debut hour in 2017, focused on being an animal whilst this year's hour, Witch Hunt is largely about being a human. Not about being a witch, because they don't exist. Obviously.

Last year I felt I understood who Tessa is as a comedian and her place in the industry. This year, through hilarious anecdotes about her recent trip to LA, an audition for Saturday Night Takeaway, being chatted up outside Zara and an awkward poem she read out in school at a very young age, I felt I got to know her a lot better as a person.

That last one by the way, the poem, was the idea of Debbie Coates, Tessa's mother. If Tessa had her way she probably wouldn't have included it in her show, but it was either that or make a show a bit more like Tina Turner: The Musical! So y'know, she had to compromise.

Having now watched both of her Edinburgh hours I alsofeel like I know more about anthropology than I ever thought I would, and for that I'm eternally grateful to Tessa. Don't worry though, Witch Hunt isn't a slightly amusing lecture, this is an out-and-out comedy show that just so happens to teach you about the study of humans.

Tessa is a really exciting new voice on the comedy scene and I look forward immensely to her next hour, which I'm hoping takes place in a venue with a larger capacity than 51. Like many others playing in small venues, Tessa deserves larger audiences and a greater presence at the festival.

Another thing I'm really looking forward to is the inevitable debut hour from her mother, Debbie Coates. Expect Tina Turner-esque dancing and awkward poems. Probably.

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

(This review was based on the performance from Thursday 16th August 2018)


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