Suzi Ruffell’s website describes her as ‘up-and-coming’. However, given that she has been a guest on Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, and Roast Battle, this description may have to be altered. Moreover, given that Ruffell has a stand-up show the calibre of Dance Like Everyone’s Watching, on at the Pleasance, it is quite clear that she is very much here and deserves to be.
It is impossible not to get swept along by Ruffell’s huge stage personality and manic, zany energy, which combines influences like the music hall style and the sharp queer comedy tradition. She opines rapidly on topics like school, growing up, dyslexia, sexuality, LGBT pride, and settling down with a self-awareness and self-deprecating style that makes her act a real joy to behold.
Her hilarious routine is also seasoned with just the right amount of righteous indignation about the way gay people are still treated in some parts of the world and manages to be rousing but never strays into a political rant. It is in these moments, in which Ruffell speaks from her heart, that the set genuinely comes alive.
It is easy to get caught up in how at ease Ruffell appears during Dance Like Everyone’s Watching but that does not do this sublimely funny set justice. Scratch away the cheeky charm and you’ll find a solidly written and carefully curated routine that displays intelligence, superb timing, and appreciation for her audience; and it’s all brought together with a warm and relatable stage persona into an act that makes an hour spent with her an hour that cannot be considered wasted.
However, most important to the success of this tremendous routine is Ruffell’s physicality. In addition to how she buzzes around the stage, Ruffell understands how to use her body, facial expressions, and what props are available to her to tell a story that rivals the most experienced comics. In particular, a joke in which she impersonates the mannerisms of her mother has the audience slapping their thighs with laughter.
In Dance Like Everyone’s Watching, Suzi Ruffell has expertly constructed a tight, well-developed, and polished stand-up show that she should be confident about taking on the road after the Fringe. If there is any fairness in the minds of comedy-going audiences across the United Kingdom, she will be telling jokes like everyone’s watching… because they will be.