Ruby Wax: Losing It
A fevered and empowering comic monologue
This article is from 2011.
According to a 2009 report, one in ten people in Scotland take daily medication for depression. This demographic are Ruby Wax’s kind of people. Broadened out from a community project that Wax and best friend/musician Judith Owen toured around NHS mental health centres, Losing It is a fevered comedy monologue punctuated by musical interludes.
Like Sally Brompton’s excellent memoir of depression, Shoot the Damn Dog, Wax traces a line from life as a spoiled media professional to the cold black night of clinical depression. Wax digresses and wanes lyrical while the talented songsmith Owen jokily sits at her piano, permanently bemused and awaiting her cue.
It seems churlish to criticise a show with such honest and decent intentions (it’s part of a charity initiative to help those suffering from mental illness to access help quicker) but Losing It feels rambling and padded in parts and rushed and incomprehensible in others. Wax’s oft repeated mantra that ‘there is no manual’ (for marriage, child care, depression) grates while her revelations about her own illness (which she puts down to the result of being handed a genetic shit bag by her Austrian parents) feel contrived. Still, Wax and Owen are consummate performers and Losing It does seek to empower an increasingly marginalised section in our society.
Udderbelly’s Pasture, 0844 545 8252, until 29 Aug, 4.10pm, £15–£17.50 (£14–£15).