Suzi Ruffell loves doing stand-up. She loves, loves, loves stand-up. She tells us this at the very start of the show, after individually greeting each audience member as they enter the room. This creates an atmosphere of friendly familiarity: we’re all here to spend an hour in each other’s company, to enjoy our mutual appreciation of comedy.
But it is evident that Ruffell – or, ‘the Ruff Stuff’ as she refers to herself (it’s a nickname she’s trying out) – adores comedy without her even telling us. She seems to exude delight in her occupation, bounding about the stage like a child telling a relative what magical gift they received for Christmas.
Her energy and smile are infectious, even when she’s talking about internet trolls and homophobia and how the world’s become a little bit too much like an episode of Black Mirror. She seems to project empathy, sharing her own fears and paranoias with the audience so we can share in them: to show the audience that we are not alone in feeling anxious in the current climate, because really, ‘if you don’t have anxiety, I don’t think you’re concentrating’.
Ruffell takes us on several very funny journeys with her: down the rabbit hole of her insomniac ‘3am press conferences’, along far-reaching Twitter spats, to the ever-so-slightly homophobic small towns of Australia. And refreshingly, Ruffell talks about her sexuality without ever descending into self-deprecation: a line notably highlighted by Hannah Gadsby.
Rather, Ruffell talks about the pain of growing up gay, feeling strange and alone, while hopefully imagining a future where Simba and Pumba are out and proud, Elsa’s got a girlfriend and Disney creates a princess who wears suits and comfortable shoes.
Nocturnal is a truly joyous hour, and while Ruffell may be unable to ever relinquish her anxiety while we still don’t know if Britney’s okay, she seems to be having a wonderful time talking about it. If you’re worried about the state of the world at the moment (let’s be honest, that’s all of us) Nocturnal is for you.
Suzi Ruffell: Nocturnal is playing 5th – 12th, 14th – 26th August at 9.45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Below)
For tickets and more information, click here
For Suzi Ruffell’s website, click here