Tessa Coates @ Pleasance Courtyard

Tessa Coates delivers an impressive sophomore hour on one of humankind’s greatest quandaries

Review by Polly Glynn | 06 Aug 2018
  • Tessa Coates

After a once in a lifetime trip Stateside, Tessa Coates begins a journey to discover who she really is while armed with only her wits and her otherwise-useless Anthropology degree. There’s no definitive answer to her question, but that doesn’t stop her as she embarks on a whistle-stop tour of what makes us, well, us. Featuring insights into the fearful lizard-brain, pick-up artists and why a potato gets to have more of an adventure than a girl in Toy Story, her second solo hour Witch Hunt explores the female psyche in a way that's both accessible and intelligent.

If it ever goes into TED talk territory, it does so minus the smugness. There's laughter aplenty, and even a room-wide gasp when Coates mentions an old true-crime tale. Gags are well-observed and at times surreal – terrifying a con man by releasing a deluge of verbal bats is quite the image. There’s also something captivating about her impassioned and fevered delivery; it’s amazing that she never trips over her words as they pour out of her. Occasionally there’s almost a giddiness to the proceedings; unexpected for something this cerebral.

It’s a shame that there isn’t a definitive answer or clickbait quiz to take to neatly pack our personalities into pigeonholes, but Coates brings hope to the ideal that we can be who want to be, whenever we need.

Tessa Coates: Witch Hunt, Pleasance Courtyard (This), 1-26 Aug, 3.30pm, £6-10

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