Tessa Coates @ Pleasance Courtyard

Stand-up Tessa Coates tackles life’s big questions through the lens of millennial angst

Review by Eve Livingston | 04 Aug 2017
  • Tessa Coates

Tessa Coates has an anthropology degree and thoughts about life and the universe, but she also has a Tinder profile and a propensity for crying on the dancefloor after too many white wines. It’s this combination that guides her debut hour, as Coates uses bigger questions about human nature and evolution to frame familiar millennial themes, like awkward house parties and online dating while everyone around you gets married.

For all that Coates’ show aims to grapple with more highbrow matters of humanity and social science, she is at her strongest when sharply observing relatable anecdotes and embodying an array of characters. More overtly academic sections exploring human reproduction and the study of anthropology can seem slightly unstructured but a sharp impression of JK Rowling’s long-suffering friends goes down particularly well, as does Coates' suggestion of how a house party might mirror the big bang and early civilisation. Her self-described posh and prudish persona also gives an endearing quality to anecdotes about illicit sex and casual dating – and it's one that never feels predictable.

Anyone who finds themselves concerned simultaneously with issues of politics, science and culture – as well as why a crush hasn’t responded to a text – will find both comfort and entertainment in Primates.

Tessa Coates: Primates, Pleasance Courtyard (This), 2-26 Aug, 3.30pm, £6-9