★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Suzi races through an hour of anxiety tales with her infectious energy and skilful joke-telling.
A week into the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Suzi Ruffell sold out her entire run, which came as little surprise to me. Her 2017 show, Keeping It Classy was her best to date and the last twelve months have seen her become a far more recognisable face and name thanks to Mock The Week, Live from the BBC and Suzi Ruffell at the Comedy Store.
With not enough room to wait backstage (behind the curtain), Suzi is instead stood at the door welcoming each audience member in to her show and thanking thanking them for coming. A really nice touch that instantly puts the audience at ease. I just wish she was also stood there at the end so that she could hear the audience unanimously praising what they've just watched.
Last year Suzi began her show by explaining to an audience who she is, she's a reptile lover, a lesbian and working class. This year, these introductions aren't necessary and instead she begins by telling the audience that she loves stand-up. And my does it show.
If a comedian is confident in what they are doing and enjoying it, the audience are far more likely to be on your side and this is absolutely the case for Suzi. It's a joy to see her work through her material and deliver the laughs at every possible opportunity.
To improve on last year's show was never going to be easy, but she has made it look easy as Suzi races through an hour of anxiety tales with her infectious energy and skilful joke-telling that rarely sees Suzi come up for air!
Nocturnal is a show about the things that keep Suzi up at night, especially at 3am as that's when all the voices in her head gather for what she calls "a press conference". Her brand new hour speaks best to those who have also struggled with anxiety because as Suzi quite brilliantly puts it "If you don't have anxiety, I don't think you're concentrating!"
These tales include a hilarious encounter with a stingray called Barbara, a less than pleasant encounter with a persistent troll and a genius deconstruction of television dating show Naked Attraction.
With news that Jack Whitehall is to play a gay Disney character breaking just earlier this week, the ending to Nocturnal is even more important and relevant than Suzi perhaps first thought. Not understanding why Disney are yet to give a gay character a major role, let alone a love story, Suzi dons her best Disney Prince jacket and takes to the mic for a surprise musical number that sees her take matters into her own hands.
It needs to be said that Suzi deserves to perform in a much bigger room. I get why she hasn't upgraded this year. One good year doesn't always guarantee a sell-out audience the next year, but thankfully for Suzi it's proved that it does.
Selling out in record time, it's clear that an audience of 55 is just far too small for someone of her calibre and profile. Of course it's a real treat for audiences to watch Suzi perform in such a small and intimate room, and one which she is extremely comfortable in.
But for someone of Suzi's calibre and profile she deserves to double, triple or even quadruple the size of her room. Why? Because everyone needs to see her and she needs to be the talk of the festival.
It's also worth noting that before the show I watched, Suzi had already performed an extra show that same day and fifteen minutes after her show finished she was to join Birthday Girls for their Late-Night Comedy Party.
If there's one thing Suzi isn't afraid of, it's hard work. And as the saying goes, hard work pays off and that's exactly what's happening to Suzi. Her recent success is well-deserved and it's been a joy to watch her career go from strength to strength.
I can't wait to see what the future holds for Suzi "The Ruff Stuff" Ruffell.
Suzi Ruffell: Nocturnal runs until 26th August at 9:45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Below). Book tickets here.
(This review was based on the performance from Thursday 16th August 2018)