FRINGE 2018: Why you need to see... Suzi Ruffell 2 years ago

FRINGE 2018: Why you need to see... Suzi Ruffell

Who: Suzi Ruffell

What: Nocturnal

Where: Pleasance Courtyard - Pleasance Below

When: 9.45pm


Suzi Ruffell could single-handedly solve the global energy crisis. She whizzes around the stage like a firework that's been set off on the top deck of a bus. A kinetic blur of bright red lipstick, topped with a non-stop mop. It's like someone Weird Science'd the lyrics of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now into human form. She's the best fucking drug at the Fringe.

Nocturnal is fuelled by Ruffell's anxiety and over-worked mind. She explains that she worries about anything and everything, and really, so should you. "If you don't have anxiety, I don't think you're concentrating!" she warns, as she strides across the stage like Groucho Marx on speed. She then lists everything from hen do's to narky neighbours as reasons to be fearful.

Not that she allows her constant state of mild panic to inhibit her in any way. Every atom of her being will be telling her something's a bad idea and yet she can't help but dive headfirst into shark infesting waters (or tanks of tactile stingrays at least). Her fears may be well-founded and healthy, but so is her uncontrollable instinct to blithely ignore them.

One instance of vetoing better judgement leads to her meeting her partner, so its definitely not a bad strategy. She may be stressed and anxious about a whole load of irrelevances, but some issues are patently worth her concern. Proper representation of gay people in popular culture is a significant source of chagrin, regardless of hollow 'one day' promises.

Ruffell hones in on the fact that the likes of Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks don't feel ready to portray same-sex couples on screen, and yet it's fine for a human woman to fall for a wise-cracking insect in Bee Movie, or Belle to shack up with a giant dog thing in Beauty and the Beast. She is acutely aware of how gay characters would reassure young Suzis growing up today.

This leads to Nocturnal's spectacular finale. In a musical conclusion that brings to mind The Book Of Mormon - it's that good in terms of delivery and lyrical wit - the ridiculously talented Ruffell belts out a Disney style number imagining the kind of gay feminist heroine she'd love there to be. It leaves you breathless and awed by a comic who is going places fast.

You can buy tickets for Nocturnal here.

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