Tessa Waters is not one to hide behind insecurities and anxieties, and that’s not because she doesn’t have them – the most influential on her performance being the fear that she would be the first to be eaten in a Lord of the Flies situation.
Waters is fierce and funny, and she knows how to work a crowd.
It’s her fourth year at Fringe and her experience seeps through her pores as though she’s been in the spotlight her entire life. She is strong and capable of laughing at herself, her confidence contagious and her storytelling charming.
Physicality is a big part of the show, as she practically incorporates a slow version of a Zumba class (with a few more breaks then probably permissible in an actual Columbian dance class) into her routine. When I say routine, it’s not the typical stand up regime. Waters’ style is more along the lines of her name; she flows with what works and returns effortlessly to that which produces laughs, creating an almost bespoke show.
Her audience got involved, with one even (consensually) slapping her thigh as part of a game. The laughs are there, both from the crowd and the artist herself as all who attend have a genuinely enjoyable time.
There were a few moments of lulled silence as we listened to a part of the story that was important overall but minutely dull in comparison to the other 45 or so minutes. We got through them and came out the other side – various breathless ‘wow’s and wide eyes as Waters regaled the tale of incredible ancestral thigh (yes, the part of your legs) beginnings.
It’s one of the more tame shows out there so if you can handle a few crotch thrusts, a swear or ten, and are not up for the vulgarity of what seems to make up most comedy shows, then Tessa Waters is for you. And just because it omits standard sexual innuendos and embarrassing first date anecdotes doesn’t mean it lacks the humour and high-energy nature of a Fringe performance. It has all that and more, but that’s something that needs seeing to be believed.