Ruth E. Cockburn Doesn't Even Smoke

Are you tired of the persistence of peer pressure to be cool and to fit in? Ruth E. Cockburn is, and in this funny and heartwarming show, she relates a whole host of situations into which we may easily be led. From panicked prepubescent sex-ed classes, to dodgy drug dealing, to awkward adult assaults, Ruth covers it all. Discussed in a warm and likable manner, this is still a show you could watch with your mum (in spite of tales of willy-windmilling).

From the word go, Ruth is alert and engaging, and in the comfort of a small venue she really gets to know her audience. The natural conversation is more successful than the stilted, scripted audience participation, but nevertheless the established relationship provides the show with a comfortable atmosphere right up to its end.

Whilst Ruth may have been nondiscriminatory in choosing which audience members she approached in her bantering, her show material is clearly targeted at a female audience. As it draws upon her experiences, hilarious stories of awkward chat-up lines and aggressive Brazilian waxes struck a chord of recognition with the women in the room, but may have evoked some discomfort amongst some of the men. However, Ruth’s self-deprecation and intimate honesty should consistently appeal to all.

The highlights of the show arrive in the witty lyrics of the smattering of songs that combine tuneful guitar playing and strong vocals. With two songs squeezed together in the middle and only one at the end, the show could benefit from some structural tweaks so that a few more cheeky tunes could be equally distributed throughout the show.

The show builds momentum as Ruth’s charisma gets the audience unequivocally on her side. The bizarre hilarity of stories in which she wants to ‘people-please’ certainly please her audience, so embrace the pressure and let yourself be led to watch it.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

The Blurb

With comedy and music Ruth will endeavour to prove that no one is cool and that we're all just playing let's pretend. A lesson in being happy with your lot. 'Highly recommended' (Buxton Fringe).

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