2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival:
• Tessa Waters in A Little Bit of Standing Up and A Little Bit of Falling Down

Posted on 07 April 2012

Tessa Waters begins her show A Little Bit of Standing Up by playing a recording of the answers grade one children gave to “What makes you happy?”

Their responses are quirky and range all over the place from friendships to pushing someone into a rose bush. They haven’t intellectualised their joy, nor brought it in-line with familial and social expectations. It’s like they’ve come to an apple tree and are happy to savour any of the apples within their reach, without agonising about whether they can attain that one apple at the very top of the tree.

A Little Bit of Standing Up is about Waters finding what makes her happy, and how she nurtured that happiness and brought it with her on her journey through life. This is no easy thing. Various people are ready to judge whether you are good enough to have your feelings. In Waters’s case dancing and performing are where her greatest delight lives.

Waters’s enthusiasm in sharing her passion makes for a gleeful hour that passes all too quickly. She clearly does have dance skills. She holds and moves her body in ways that only people who are comfortable living within their skins do. This does not require a particular type of body, just someone who revels in experiencing its wonder.

What makes your ribs hurt with laughter is her frankness about her experiences: her childhood obsession with party-food, having to cope with a snobbish child dance teacher, and effectively dealing with farts on the dance floor. The vulnerability, awkwardness, and moments of elation she depicted communicated themselves in a universal manner and had people of all ages and genders shaking with the giggles.

In the end everyone left reunited with their inner kindergartner, ready to smear chocolate sauce all over their faces. A Little Bit of Standing Up and Tessa Waters herself are treasures.

Peace and kindness,



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