Suzi Ruffell @ Pleasance Courtyard

Anxiety propels Suzi Ruffel but also holds her back

Review by Cara McNamara | 03 Aug 2018
  • Suzi Ruffell

Our perception of anxiety as a clinical diagnosis is a comparatively new concept: 20 years ago it was barely recognised as a condition. For instance, Suzi Ruffell’s Nan would have called it “suffering with your nerves”. 

Ruffell’s brash persona belies the fact that she’s an epic warrior. The Artful Dodger in an 80s suit, her swagger is abundant, her delivery is on point, and the tempo of is up up up – never missing a beat with anecdotes about her girlfriend, hen party hell and an affectionate stingray called Barbara. However, a keening anxiety snakes through it all, and it seems plain this is what forces Ruffell on while also holding her back. It's persistence pulls her comedy outwith her control, but it’s so much better when she’s got hold of it – when she’s making us laugh, not inducing us to laugh at her. 

As a comedy topic, anxiety is as old as time. Had Adam performed stand-up, he'd have stressed about the price of apples. And unfortunately, with anxiety being such a well-worn path, Ruffell skits around its edges more than she makes it her own.


Suzi Ruffell: Nocturnal, Pleasance Courtyard (Below), 1-26 Aug (not 13), 9:45pm, £6-11

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