Ruby Wax: Losing It

Article by Jenni Brooks | 10 Aug 2011

Ever wondered how off-the-rails celebs fill their days at the Priory? Then wonder no more, for the renowned clinic’s activity timetable is one of the juicy insights offered in Ruby Wax’s frank, funny and moving show about mental illness. Returning to the stage after many years, her acerbic, mouthy persona is evident in some me-me-me gurning and a cutting critique of fame, marriage and gender inequality.

However, Wax also exposes a new and welcome vulnerability as she recounts her childhood, career and breakdown. Just as surprising is the heavy duty learning she brings to bear too, fresh from her neuroscience studies at Oxford.

All this is interspersed with singer-songwriter Judith Owen’s plaintive soundtrack, delivered in rich, silky tones from behind a baby grand piano. Despite adding poignancy, it’s not always clear how the music links with Wax’s monologue, and Owen’s role slips uneasily between best friend and put-upon sidekick.

At times the show’s gear change between slapstick and genuine darkness can be awkward, but overall it finds the right balance. It ends with an audience Q&A session which sees fellow sufferers expressing their gratitude for a show doing so much to bring mental illness out into the open.

Ruby Wax: Losing It 5 Aug Udderbelly’s Pasture 5-29 Aug (not 15) 16.10 £10-17.50