By Fiona Leckerman
Having only experienced Ruby Wax through the small screen, she has always been somewhat cartoonish, a living caricature with her wide red lipped smile and voice so distinctive you’d be sure to win Magic Radio’s mystery voices if she were to partake. However seeing her live in her show Sane New Word at the Arts Theatre dispelled those misconceptions.
Yes, she looks the same but no, she is not in any way the character she appears to be. Sane New World sees Wax tackle the mind and how we are unknowing saboteurs of our own.
Outspoken about her personal battle with mental health, Wax uses the stage to explore the inner pathways of the mind, in her mission to understand her own mind and she has found a way to explain its mystery to a wider audience in a humorous and clear manner.
In Sane New World, Wax, who gained her masters at Oxford University in mindfulness based cognitive therapy, places this knowledge next to real-life scenarios, making the complicated neurological actions of the brain understandable and better still relatable.
Essentially, Wax is providing an education by way of a comedic lecture, complete with blackboard and slides (aka video and projection).
The result of this is twofold: Wax allows the audience to see how our busy lives affect our thoughts while reassuring that we are not alone in thinking them and offers ways to combat negative thought processes.
Ending the first act with a mindfulness exercise left space to digest and time to ponder ready for the second act, which saw Wax pull a chair to the centre of the stage and invite the audience members to ask questions.
Here Wax was not the comic nor the teacher, but just a woman who suffers from mental health and wants to help others. What ensued was an open and honest discussion attesting that Sane New World is much more than a vehicle for Wax the celebrity, but in fact a platform to make the invisibility of mental health visible.
Ruby Wax stars in Sane New World at The Arts Theatre until 13 February.