Review: Suzi Ruffell: Dance Like Everyone's Watching
4★★★★

If they handed out awards for the most inventive use of a mic stand, then Suzi Ruffell would be a clear winner. The Portsmouth comic’s re-enactment of a recent trip to the local medical centre is uncomplicated, honest and extremely funny – words that could easily be used to describe this entire set.

The feelgood factor is there right from the off. Suzi dances onto the stage, eyes sparkling like a jeweller’s window. She’s incredibly happy, she tells us, and it seems to be infectious. Soon, the audience appear to be wrapped in a Ready Brek glow as the master storyteller regales us with cockle-warming tales of her engagement and forthcoming wedding to girlfriend, Alice. She can’t wait to settle down to a suburban life filled with garden centres and gurgling babies.

It’s punchline-packed and there are some delightful detours along the way including confessions about the other great loves in her life – good haircuts and her trusty NutriBullet. There are skilled and seamless segues to more serious topics too. Suzi describes the ‘backpack of shame’ she carried round for years regarding her sexuality and highlights the recent surge in homophobic and transphobic hate crime.

Slick without ever being smug, this is a supremely-skilled performance from a comedian primed and ready for the additional TV work that’s undoubtedly set to come her way. A closing anecdote about a teary and very beery trip to World Pride in New York with fellow comedian and cake connoisseur, Tom Allen, reveals that self-acceptance is the key to her new-found happiness. Finally being able to love herself is the real reason for those dancing Doc Marten feet. It’s an uplifting end to a hugely enjoyable show that surely consigns that ‘backpack of shame’ to the dump where it belongs.

Suzi Ruffell: Dance Like Everyone’s Watching, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul – 25 Aug, 8.30pm

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