Suzy Bennett: Dancing On Thin Ice | Review by Julia Chamberlain © Steve Ullathorne
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Suzy Bennett: Dancing On Thin Ice

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Julia Chamberlain

It’s rare for a stand-up to wear their heart on their sleeve quite so clearly. Suzy Bennett’s vulnerability is part of her charm and it’s a quality that, as a comedian, you either have or you don’t – you can’t fake it or acquire it.

Everything about the show, from the title, which implies she’s in danger of plunging through into darkness, to her brutal honestly about father issues, her desire for approval and emotional rehab amplifies her neediness to the extent that makes you feel quite protective towards her. It’s an old chestnut that some people do comedy as therapy, and in Bennett’s case it feels like it’s the primary motive.

So, what’s in it for the audience? There’s plenty. An autobiographical story show is a comfortable format, and emotional honesty along with laughs is always welcome. Her childhood obsession with Torvill and Dean is unabated and provides a handy backbone – there’s plenty of family album photos, video clips, selfies and a doctored copy of Time Out to illustrate the stories that pour out of her.

Bennett has the physical presence and panache of a young Dawn French. Her delivery is torrential, with a pleasing Devonian burr that’s in danger of becoming hypnotically lulling. If she didn’t have the dance breaks and video inserts, it would feel too close to being buttonholed by a chatty woman on the train. Amusing for sure, but the desire for approval and reassurance is so tangible and places much on the audience; you feel responsible for her future wellbeing.

As someone who has spent time in therapy, she is merciless on herself and she shows her working out – yes, I need approval, yes I use humour as a defence, yes I put on a smile to mask the pain. But even as she directs you to the mechanics of what she’s doing, her determination is to win the audience over, and in this she succeeds.

Review date: 9 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain

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