Suzi Ruffel: Keeping It Classy (21.45, Pleasance Courtyard)

Last year, Suzi Ruffell’s show ‘Common’ was one of my favourite shows of the Fringe, this year she is already well on her way to repeating that trick.

This year’s show, Keeping it Classy, covers a lot of the same ground as Common, focusing mainly on trying to live in a middle class world having come from a working class background. The worry with a show like this is that you fall back on negative working-class stereotypes, but this show is nothing less than loving in it’s portrayal of her ‘common’ friends and family, as well as being perfectly hilarious. Coming from a working-class background, each character she brings to life it feels could be someone I’ve met or been related to, just expressed in a way much funnier than I could ever dream of, and, as I said last year, it is still so refreshing to hear a legitimate working class voice in an increasingly middle-class, paid by daddy type festival.

Ruffell’s performance particularly is on point, a knowing, almost Izzard-esque delivery, that manages to enhance almost every punchline with nothing more than a raise of the eyebrows or well-times smile, however the writing is sometimes slightly lacking. That is to say that the narrative of the hour seems to fall away, a nice extended routine about a baby’s birthday party that contextualises a lot of the material vanishes without trace, and an early bit about reptile club feels like it should go somewhere more, but these are petty concerns when the punchlines are so achingly funny that it’s a surprise you haven’t heard Ruffell’s name more on television (other than an unfortunate tv listing that I won’t spoil for you), although that surely must be coming.

So really, all that’s left to do is recommend you make it along to this wonderfully intimate black-box theatre before it’s being done in bigger, and more expensive theatres. Very good show.

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Scott Redmond

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