REVIEW: Tessa Waters: Fully Sik (NZ International Comedy Festival)

Review by Rachael Longshaw-Park

[Came to Play]

Who is Tessa Waters? Self-confessed bogan? The human equivalent of a giggling glitter explosion? Professional trained mime? Guess what. She’s all of these and more, and one thing’s for sure, she’s not to be missed this Comedy Festival!

This isn’t your average stand up show; even though the show uses a relatively simple sketch format, there are many elements of Water’s career that have come together to give us Fully Sik. Tessa Waters has a varied background in performance – she’s a trained dancer, a professional mime and an incredible clown. In the last few years Waters has seen raging success with her comedy shows. She is also the co-founder of the Fringe Wives Club, an award-winning comedy cabaret feminist power trio. These factors combined allow for us to sit and watch Tessa show off a little of each of her talents and leave us wanting more.

Fully Sik has no real through-line – it’s more a rolling train of physical sketch comedy that ends far too soon, however, it is lightly seasoned with feminism, poking fun at the common aversion to female comics and female-centric material. Period jokes are edgy, right?

The real beauty of Tessa’s performance lies in her ability to make an audience laugh with the scrunch of her face or the flicker of an eye. Waters has a real talent for physical comedy and it’s empowering to see her dominating her craft.

Another talent Waters has is the ability to change an audience’s perception of audience participation. In the first few minutes of the show Waters invites a member of the audience up on stage for a pillow fight and only one lone voice pipes up to volunteer, however, Water’s charm quickly melts away our anxieties as she demonstrates she is here to play. She easily installs confidence and is not short of volunteers at the next opportunity.

There is something about Water’s infectious personality that wraps you up in in a warm glow, from the moment she high fives you when you walk into the theatre to the very last confetti throw, and you’re guaranteed to leave the theatre energised and yearning for more.

Tessa Waters plays The Basement until 5 May. 

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