By Colin Flaherty
With a theme of happiness, Tessa Water’s new show exuded it in abundance. From the high energy opening utilising party poppers and lots of glitter, this was a show full of joy and enthusiasm.
Exploring the quest for happiness throughout her life, Tessa explained the things that provided contentment to her and showed us the often embarrassing things she had done to achieve them. The use of pre-recorded audio with which she could interact was a wonderful device to transport the audience to scenes in her youth. This was especially true of the scenes set in her childhood where we could get the full impact of the awkward younger Tessa fumbling her way through life in her pursuit of happiness.
Tessa was wonderfully expressive in the theatrical pieces, portraying the naivety of a child with the fearlessness of looking silly to get a laugh. Her delivery in the stand up portions of the show was complimentary with her daggy and bubbly personality getting the audience enthused about the minutae of life while simultaneously laughing at Tessa and her silliness; a vital task as this was the crux of the show.
Dancing became a reoccurring motif throughout the show which provided many opportunities for Tessa to strut her stuff, providing lots more colour and movement to an already flamboyant performance. A highlight was the recreation of a rehearsal at Miss Kate’s Dance Academy. This brilliant piece was equal parts heart-breaking pathos and hilariously daggy triumph.
Some quieter moments were used in the closing segments to contrast the high energy performance. One was a cigarette break which included a monologue about her move into the arts. It was a playful mocking of the expectation for her to become a serious adult and disregard all frivolity. This was beautifully complimented by a “Challenging piece of theatre” set to the overture of The Barber of Seville which was wonderfully stupid and deliberately over long; a great parody of overly serious art.
The closing story about her Grandfather was a moving tale that brings home the essence of the show without being too heavy handed. At the conclusion of this lovely performance, the audience left the venue with a smile on their faces and a warm inner glow. It was a perfect show to remind people of the happiness that everyone can achieve.
A Little Bit of Standing Up and A Little Bit of Falling Down is on at The Tuxedo Cat