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‘Welcome to Tuscany!” Those are the opening lines of funny woman Ruby Wax after she has been reclining on a red chair while watching the audience watching her for a few minutes.
She’s an odd one, but it is this oddness that’s appealing as she tells you why this show and her second career came about. Like everything else in her life it was quite haphazard. They used her picture on a mental health poster and she thought she would counteract with a show and let the poster work as publicity!
It did and she was off and travelling the world with a show that is loosely based on her battle with mental illness and the discovery that no one has a script to do what we have to do – live.
Following a meltdown and some serious bouts of depression, she knew she had to figure this out. She wanted to know how her head works and so, she says, should all of us. But mostly we’re all much too busy keeping busy.
But she’s putting it out there, her own mental health issues and hopefully alerting those who through the laughter will pick up on the pain of what is still too shameful for many to speak about.
One in four, she says, and you may be one of those. If not, you will know someone who is. But there is a way out and she is speaking out, sometimes shouting – loudly – and with as much laughter as she can ease into what might be misery for some.
It’s her game, she’s been there and she wants to show how one survives. And offer loads of fun.
That it certainly is. While gathering some info on all kinds of things, you’re off giggling from start to finish.
After interval, everyone is ordered to march back in for a question and answer session and when she commands, we return with a smile. But this chat session is in the hands of the audience and the way they decide to go. Perhaps it would work better tagged on to the first half rather than following some time out.
They’re let off the hook and allowed to simmer while had she caught them at the tail end of her chatter, it might have been a more cosy conversation, easier to let the hair down. On the night it didn’t add to the show.
That’s also why a rating for Ms Wax is not a fair assessment. Her show is all about being there on a particular night. You will always have a smile but some nights, the roof is going to lift.