Suzi Ruffell – Common

Where/When- Just the Tonic@ The Mash House, 8:20pm.

Bouncing from show to show at the Fringe, it’s always nice to hear a fellow working class accent amongst the scores of educated, upper-middle class Londoners. In the case of Suzi Ruffell’s Common, it also helps that accent belongs to one of the best comedic voices in the country.

Her show this year concerns, as the title would suggest, being working class (a rarity in the comedy world). Through stories of animal print clothing, the buying and selling game, and the gatherings of large family blocks, Ruffell shows off immense comedic smarts and the ability to turn even some very harrowing childhood memories (being cruelly treated over severe dyslexia, her father being arrested) into laughs.
In fact, of the many stand-up shows this reviewer has seen at the festival so far, Common may be the show with the best laughs a minute ratio, and none of your little polite titters. All big, guttural stomach laughs. In a room filled mostly with the non-working class (there maybe being five of us other than the performer in a room), she manages to make those who have never really had her experiences laugh at the life she was born into but without it ever seeming like they are laughing AT the poor.

This is achieved through quality storytelling and a fantastic knack for pulling a punchline out of nowhere, blowing the audience out of the water when they don’t quite expect it. The delivery, the rapid jumping in and out of the characters of the stories, is like an early Eddie Izzard but much more grounded in reality.

Also unlike many other solo stand-up shows, there is a never a dip in the middle. Just rapid-fire laughs right through, leaving you entertained and enjoying the show from beginning to end. The best pay what you want show I’ve ever seen, and certainly up there overall for stand-up shows.

Go see this show now, as she’ll be charging a lot more than 6 quid or pay on the door next year.

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Scott Redmond

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