Tessa Coates says she regretted the name for her Fringe show, Get Your Tessa Coates You’ve Pulled, about as soon as she committed to it. It’s the first of many comical regrets, as Coates spends most of the next hour reliving moments that still haunt her.
She’s a great storyteller and the tales of embarrassment – spanning from days at school to a February 2020 encounter with John Malkovich – are engaging.
At times, the plot can get a little repetitive – Tessa’s gone and embrassed herself again – while posh, goofy, British girl is clearly Coates’ shtick, with moments of quirky randomness occasionally thrown into the mix.
View this post on Instagram
Coates herself almost admits this. The transatlantic success of Fleabag has made this brand both more popular and commercial. Phoebe Waller-Bridge did not invent it, and Coates is not the only other practitioner, but posh, goofy, British girl is in.
That it’s repetitive is okay. It’s funny enough that it’s not boring. The only drawback is just that it feels a little forced and inauthentic. Take, for example, the remote control pink hummer. This beast sits on stage for the entirety of the show, only to provide Coates with a bottle of water briefly and then carry her out at the end. It’s random, yes, and funny, sure, but more thought has gone into it than the impulsiveness being feigned.
Nonetheless, Get Your Tessa Coates You’ve Pulled is enjoyable. Her teenage years spent doing pony dressage to The Streets sounds implausible, but why really question it if the image makes you laugh in your head? Her father being tranquilised on the way home from one such event, and Coates’ own later experience with a more common horse tranquiliser, are both very amusing. Recalling, while on the latter, a red chino-ed bloke who introduced himself by his law firm instead of his surname is brilliant.
Cringe and quirkiness can both be funny, and often are again here, it just feels a little bit manufactured. Obviously stand-up is an act and doesn’t have to be taken at face value, but when it’s this anecdotal, you at least want to believe most of it could be true. Maybe Coates does have a life this peculiar and amusing, in which case I apologise.