tue 21/11/2017

Suzi Ruffell, Soho Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Suzi Ruffell, Soho Theatre

Suzi Ruffell, Soho Theatre

Amusing take on how class defines us

Suzi Ruffell mines her working-class upbringing in Portsmouth for her show Common

Suzi Ruffell tells it straight: she's working-class and proud, but some people might think she's "common", which is the show's title. She has devised a quick quiz for us to check if we're working-class ourselves, and among the amusing tell-tale signs is: did your mum use to freeze milk? A new one on me, but the show is off to a good start.

Ruffell comes from a large family in Portsmouth and, for some reason the comic can't fathom, they ignored birthdays and made little of Christmas, but made a big deal of Bonfire Night – and when talking about her relatives she paints a vivid picture of her upbringing and impersonates those in it with aplomb.

She digs a little deeper than mere celebration of her roots

Her parents loom large in the show and this material is delivered with great affection. When Ruffell's mum – who calls her daughter her “princess” – goes out on the town with her girlfriends, the amount of animal print on show “is like an amateur production of The Lion King”, while her proper geezer dad “buys and sells for a living.”

She digs a little deeper than mere celebration of her roots, though, and delves into how class still defines us; Ruffell was the first in her family to go to university and the first to leave Pompey, and her life in east London is now thoroughly middle-class, even down to the pedigree cat she and her girlfriend treat as their surrogate child. She briefly reflects on imposter syndrome and, with a neat callback or two, reminds us that her family will always have her back, but will also keep her grounded should she get above herself.

Ruffell is a hugely likeable comic and commands the stage with a pleasing swagger, but after a while the material in Common seems same-y and the pace slackens. Yet there is a solid performance here, and some real flashes of wit in an entertaining hour.

Ruffell is a hugely likeable comic and commands the stage with a pleasing swagger

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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