Suzi Ruffell: Keeping it Classy

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Suzi Ruffell
Published 14 Aug 2017

Suzi Ruffell, self-described legend. Hyperbole, you might think, and it's certainly hyperbole she's aiming for. But, actually, there's more than a little truth in it. This is a pacy and energetic set from a comic with all the chops and plenty to say.

Particularly, Ruffell wants to talk about what it's like being a working class gay woman. This places her somewhere in limbo. She's the "mouthy cow" in her family because she has views on feminism. But how likely is she to get big in a country where "the only lesbians on TV are the posh ones" (not as outlandish a claim as it sounds)? It is, in essence, a double whammy fish-out-of-water tale, told very well. Particularly effective is her feminist inner voice, which works as a device to explore her own contraditions while giving rein to her flair for bombastic character acting. She also has an adept turn of phrase. Her uncle Bob, for instance, sites his Daily Mail-inspired reasoning around a "trifecta of hate". You don't get many "trifectas" to the pound at the Pleasance.

Ruffell is a super-confident performer, but there are times when the mask slips and we catch a bit of the real Suzi. It breaks the magic a little – we see chinks in the armour of the performance. I guess there's two ways of dealing with this. One is to power through. The other, I suppose, is to bring the less frenetic Suzi from behind the curtain into the light. I don't know which is better, but I'm fairly certain Ruffell could pull off either one.