Next to Tessa on stage is a waist-high pile of books, one of the books in said pile is Harry Potter and at the top is a tome entitled Witch Hunt. While this pile is occasionally leaned on it is never explained, though various titles are referred to throughout the show and they appear to be the books that have influenced the human Tessa is.
And she is a charmingly awkward, personable human. After a trip to America in which the comedian found she could not order at a salad bar without being forced to make affirmations about who she was, she decided to apply her anthropology degree to this show and discover what it is to be human. However, this is made tricky as while anthropology has a lot of questions, it provides few answers. As a subject, it is all set up and no punchline.
Rather than a stand-up show, Witch Hunt strikes me as more an amusing, slightly haphazard lecture in which Tessa explains plenty of interesting theories that stretch from what the lizard brain is to the new era of the more self-sufficient Disney Princess, to pick-up artists and their training methods. It’s hard to disagree with anything Tessa says, but considering her evident expanse of knowledge and natural comic talent you do find yourself wanting more and occasionally it strikes a Buzzfeed-esque tone.
This is not to say Tessa does not deliver in this show, at one point she tells the most horrifying story, that I need to get over by the 21st, because that’s when I go home to my flat alone. Just as in Felicity Ward’s show, a young child, this time a boy who leant over to his mother and asked what a blowjob was and if the time Tessa said it should take was right.
Witch Hunt is a perfectly good show, however, I think Tessa Coates has a lot more up her sleeve to offer and I suspect, should she bring a third show to the Edinburgh Fringe it will be an absolute blinder.
Tessa Coates: Witch Hunt is at 15:30 the Pleasance Courtyard, This until 26th August. For tickets and more information click here!
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