If, as she frequently states, it’s unfortunately true that a whopping one in four people will suffer from some sort of mental illness during their lifetime, then comedienne Ruby Wax has got a huge readymade audience out there for her latest confessional show.
Despite her outgoing personality, the exuberant Wax knows more than she’d like to about depression – she’s suffered from this debilitating disease for years.
And she’s keen to stress that although there are no broken bones on display, the damage done by problems of the mind is every bit as real as that wrought by ailments with a more physical manifestation and should be treated with the same degree of understanding and sympathy.
Being Wax, of course, she can’t resist sliding off into comic riffs (some funnier than others) about her own experiences (some not really relevant) but there’s no doubting her underlying sincerity.
Her showy presence is counterbalanced by the presence of singer-songwriter Judith Owen whose husky voice and low key piano playing counterbalance her co-performer’s excesses.
Like Wax, she too has a troubled history – her mother committed suicide and she herself is no stranger to the Priory.
After the interval, there’s a question and answer session – a chance (on the afternoon I went) for fans to praise Ruby for her past performances, and for others to probe a little deeper into what makes her tick and how she dealt with the trajectory from fame to bedbound breakdown.
It’s certainly not your standard theatrical fare, but the show has already been scheduled to return in a couple of months – an indication not only of the popularity Wax still enjoys, but also the accuracy of that sad, worrying statistic.
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– Louise Kingsley