REVIEW: Suzi Ruffell at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

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Portsmouth Grammar School pupils, back from left  to right: Sam Rush, Oliver Clark, Hermione Barrick, Michaela Clancy, Ilana Berney, Lizzy Greenfield, Charlotte Phillips, Grace Goodfellow, Caleb Barron, Robert Merriam. Front row, left to right: Katie Morrison, Gemma Webb, Lana Watt, Alfie Perry-Ward

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Suzi Ruffell and Tom Allen: Hit the Road kicked off its UK tour in humble beginnings at the New Theatre Royal. The intimate Minghella Studio is a far cry from the arenas they’ve played whilst supporting Alan Carr and Sarah Millican respectively. However, the small venue was packed with big laughs throughout.

The pair greeted the audience as they took their seats before introducing the show together. Fresh from the Edinburgh Festival, both acts then proceeded to perform their individual sets. Tom Allen was up first with his show, Indeed. Looking dapper in his suit, the gloriously camp comic quipped ‘I’m gay, I’m still gay. It’s getting worse.’ He recounted tales about living with his parents, repeatedly failing his driving test and a school trip to France, all in his articulate, sparkling style. While funny on the whole, I felt certain stories were slightly too lengthy including getting locked in his neighbour’s ‘dream toilet’.

Local comedian Suzi Ruffell then performed Common. Her set centres on growing up in a working class family, often joking about her father ‘the geezer, bloke who only writes in capitals’ sat merely rows away from her on the night. Her delivery is slick and polished and, with a cheeky smile and animated facial expressions, her anecdotes are always endearing. From her Nan’s dodgy outfits ‘so much animal print, it’s like an amateur version of the Lion King’ to her many quips about being gay, Suzi is definitely deserving of a much larger crowd!

KAYLEIGH MILLEN