REVIEW: Ruby Wax ‘Frazzled’ at The Lowry, Salford

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AMERICAN comedian Ruby Wax waltzed to Salford Quays last night as part of her ‘Frazzled’ tour. Quays News entertainment reporter Misha Solanki was there for us…

When the name Ruby Wax comes to mind, many tend to think about the female comedian that has been seen on numerous television shows. However, this show was far from a stand-up routine; instead a mental health discussion.

The tour name was taken from her newly released book title “A Mindfulness Guide for The Frazzled.”

As the audience began to take their seats in preparation for the show, it soon became clear that only one in five in the audience were actually under the age of 30. Any lingering hopes of a stand-up routine evaporated almost instantly…

The stage was set up with two seats, a small table and a jug of water with two glasses. Out walks Ruby Wax with her signature spiky bright coloured hair, with another lady following her out. Ruby went on to explain that this other woman was a BBC journalist who was there to ask Ruby questions.

She went on the explain that this show is going to be something more of a conversation rather than a conventional one-woman show.

The show started off with the journalist asking Ruby what “Frazzled” actually meant and whether Ruby herself was still ‘Frazzled’. This was all leading up to Ruby talking about her childhood and how her parents were also slightly ‘Frazzled’ and how she could have got it from them.

The show soon started taking a turn into Ruby’s depression and how mindfulness has helped her to overcome her illness.

The first half of the show was completely based on set questions that the journalist had, and a huge part of it was based on the topic of mindfulness. It’s not as if the whole first half of the show was serious, as Ruby did drop in some one liners and tried to make light of some more serious topics.

However, the questions and answers didn’t seem to flow very well, it seemed as if Ruby had so much to say that her mouth couldn’t keep up with what her brain was actually thinking.

The concept of mindfulness dominated and that came across even more as she got the audience to participate in some exercises to show what mindfulness actually is and how easy it is to take some time out day to day and just do these mental exercises.

Wax went on to tell the crowd how she has a “masters from Oxford” all based around the subject of mindfulness. Once she had told the crowd this it began to explain all the passion that she had, and all the knowledge that she possessed on the topic.

The first half lasted around an hour and 15 minutes, a time span that seemed to last much longer such was the heavy nature of the material. The topic of the first half was very intense and full on, yet it did seem to resonate with many in the crowd who were either affected by mental health or working in the mental health sector.

The interval allowed the audience to have some what of a breather from the intense first half, and during the interval the stage hands went on to remove one chair and the table, leaving just the one chair set facing the audience in the middle of the stage.

After the interval, Wax came back out to a huge round of applause and went on to explain that this was a Q&A section for us, the audience.

Essentially, Wax put herself in the firing line for any question thrown her way.

All the questions were based around what she had spoken about in the first half, with some of them being more serious than others. The reality of the situation with mental health really hit home when a young girl in the audience started to tell everyone about her battle with mental health – in particular bi-polar – and burst into tears.

It started to become a tense moment for the audience but Wax handled it really well, telling the emotional girl and her family to come and meet her back stage so they could sit down and “smooze.”

Overall, Frazzled was a show made for a specific type of audience, and because I wasn’t part of that specific audience it was hard to showcase the same levels of enthusiasm having gone in with a whole different concept .

Maybe that’s why I couldn’t appreciate Ruby’s passion and in depth knowledge of mindfulness and mental illness as much as other members of the audience did.

By Misha Solanki
@misha_solanks

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4 Comments

  1. I am very interested in the topic, however, the “show” was very dull and not worth the ticket price. Everyone around me was around me were disappointed.
    If she wants to share her passion on the topic fine, I have time and interest, but to sell tickets at £20-£80 for that is truly shocking.

  2. Yes we saw her at Buxton. Very disappointed..the whole show is to promote her book. Unless you are at your wits end don’t bother!

  3. “As the audience began to take their seats in preparation for the show, it soon became clear that only one in five in the audience were actually under the age of 30. Any lingering hopes of a stand-up routine evaporated almost instantly…”

    So Misha, anyone over 30 can be assumed to be devoid of a sense of humour, Ageist comment = buffoon.
    And this helps attract people to the Lowry, go and sit in the corner for 5 minutes and be mindful!

  4. I was very disappointed and my 5 friends were also no bpvery impressed with this show. I was expecting a comedy show although I was aware of her interest in mindfulnes. It was a waste of a Saturday night to be honest. Wouldn’t recommended

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