An epic march through Paris searching for the grave of someone called Jean-Paul Satre just to please an ex-girlfriend is one of the many very funny and brilliantly recounted tales in Suzi Ruffell’s latest show,
Ruffell has clearly given the material and her message a great deal of thought, and it shows. She makes you laugh – a lot – but there’s more there if you care to look for it.
This provides Ruffell with excellent comic material as we are given stories ranging from the excruciatingly embarrassing event that is bra shopping to the effects of fourteen whiskey and lemonades on her sixteen-year-old self. The latter results in a particularly good rendition of a popular rap song which you ought to make every effort to see. We learn what Ruffell and the Mona Lisa have in common and what’s really inside the manual that lesbians receive in the post after they come out.
Much of Social Chameleon is about the perils of growing up and the accompanying feelings of unease and uncertainty – and Ruffell has some great stories about being embarrassed by her family, making a fool of herself in public and fear of missing out – but the show also has a serious, grown-up edge to it. Ruffell incorporates the hot topic of feminism with an amusing, but pointed, reading of the film Grease. The question of sexuality also neatly fits in with the theme of change and being oneself, and, while Ruffell has some great quips about gays and rainbows and coming out, here, too, there is a weightier angle.
Ruffell herself is a confident and assured performer, but maintains an air of self-deprecation in keeping with the ideas of awkwardness and insecurity. Social Chameleon is very slick show with every anecdote fitting well into the central theme. Ruffell has clearly given the material and her message a great deal of thought, and it shows. She makes you laugh – a lot – but there’s more there if you care to look for it.