Suzi Ruffell: Common | Review by Julia Chamberlain
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Suzi Ruffell: Common

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Julia Chamberlain

This is a joyous hour. Suzi Ruffell has nabbed the working-class comedy crown for her generation. Everyone else can go home. May she have as much fun swaggering about in it as her audience did watching her.

She has the dash and charm of Micky Flanagan and his talent for imitating family and friends and making them come alive with a few deft phrases and details. She is her own woman though, not an imitation. She’s got a good ear and memory for the sharp putdowns or praise of family interaction

Her line in is ‘you know you’re working-class if…’ with examples everyone responds to. The lovely thing about Ruffell’s performance and writing is that is infused with warmth and love, I’d almost want to see the soap opera extended family who are spread across Portsmouth, all geezers and uncles making the best of things, more Family Larkin than EastEnders.

Ruffell herself cheerfully admits that she’s become middle-class, as you can’t really be anything else as comedian at an arts festival, living in North London with partner and cat-as-baby surrogate.

It’s marvellous to have a comedian celebrating life rather than moaning about it, without a hint of happy-clappiness. She’s the opposite of smug, shares some survivable life disasters and is massively entertaining along the way. You come out feeling you’ve spent the time with a super new friend or niece. There are plenty of quickfire stories,many with a payoff where her family’s response keeps her grounded, no humble-bragging allowed here.

There’s a judgement in the word ‘common’ - it’s loaded with condemnation, a supercilious observation of someone too loud, too flash, not knowing the order of things, not knowing your place below stairs. Ruffell may have had that bitchy phrase levelled at her in the past, but she’s untangled herself from her roots (the first of her family to move away from Pompey) but maintained a fond link with them.

She’s anything but common – sparky, energising, fun and an accomplished act who knows how to engage an audience.

Review date: 22 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Just the Tonic at The Mash House

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