Womanz | Review by Graeme Connelly
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Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Graeme Connelly

Tessa Waters’s one-woman show is not like anything else on at the Fringe – and that is saying something. So how to describe Womanz?

Listing the facts of the matter wouldn't be enough but it's a good place to start: one woman, one leotard, several costume changes, a dance class,  giant golden breasts, crotch touching, awkward pauses, a half dozen uncomfortable audience members,  the firm need for a stiff drink and a lie down afterwards.

This was definitely not stand-up. It wasn't even dance. There were giant swathes of the performance that consisted of no more than a bemused and thankfully half-drunk crowd staring at a woman shaking her buttocks for long minutes on end. It was an experience all right, and thankfully this surreal aspect gave something to laugh about as the crowd exchanged glances as if to say: ‘What the hell have we got ourselves into here?’

Waters chats to the audience briefly while she gets her breath back between dances. She then launches into another routine, remarkably like the first.  There was a hypnotic feel to the movement; repetitive rhythms helped lull everyone into a relaxed state, before she screams her next cue at her sound man and wakes the room up again.

Touching her crotch frequently, Waters expresses her appreciation for her whole body. Then encourages the spectators to do the same, thankfully to ourselves – it didn’t get that weird. Hands on crotches, we recited our love for our genitals.

In a highlight, Waters entices us all up for a brief but energetic dance class. There again was a sense of unity as we all gyrated together, felt ridiculous together, and laughed together to cover up whatever emotion we were each trying to suppress – confusion, probably.

Tessa’s commitment to the role is fantastic, she went for it right till the bitter end, never breaking character, never letting up, never not smiling. If her act were a five-minute piece of a larger show it would be funny. But there is only so long you can laugh at an ass shaking in spandex before it starts to feel weird.

Review date: 17 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Graeme Connelly
Reviewed at: Underbelly Cowgate

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