Edinburgh Fringe Review: Suzi Ruffell, Pleasance Courtyard

I always like it when comedy throws up a nice coincidence. Suzi Ruffell's latest show Nocturnal threw up two. By pure chance the day I saw it there was a row brewing over straight Jack Whitehall being cast as a reportedly gay character in Disney film The Jungle Cruise. One of the angles in Ruffell's show is about how Disney has never featured a leading gay character. It only needed a tiny tweak to acknowledge the latest news and Ruffell was bang on brand. The Ruffell Brand if you like.

And secondly when I was watching her show I noted down that she has so much energy and so many ideas buzzing around her brain she is like a female Lee Evans. I got home and heard the news that Lee Evans is making a stage comeback. Not that he will be challenging Ruffell to get his madcap clown crown back - he is doing Harold Pinter this time, not stand-up.

The title of Ruffell's excellent new show comes from the fact that her brain tends to come alive in bed at 3am when the voices in her head gather together for their "3am press conference" (though they are also pretty lively onstage). Ruffell's take on the world is that if you are not suffering anxiety you are not concentrating. The world is such a messed up place you'd be a fool not to be anxious. And there is plenty to make Ruffell anxious. From homophobic trolls to a neigbour she has nightmares about. 

Stand-out routines include her encounter with a stingray in Australia, a hellish hen do and her take-down of C4's Naked Attraction (not that there's much in it to take down if you get my drift). Criticising television programmes can be comedic low-hanging fruit but Ruffell truffles around for something more original. While most stand-ups would settle for a few gags about First Dates she has dug into the schedules and found the funnies in the lesser-spotted ITV series Dinner Date.

Nocturnal is rammed with laughs plus a topping of sexual politics. Ruffell really does have funny bones. There are those aforementioned hints of Lee Evans and she also has a cartoonish almost Charlie Chaplinesque essence about her. I thought the awards panel would come calling last year but they didn't. Maybe they will make amends this year.

Until August 26. Tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.

****

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