"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

an evening of comedy???

When Lesley, Dalene and Kathy were talking about Ruby Wax, I realised that although I knew what she looked like, I did not remember ever watching her television show.  They roared with laughter at memories of her visiting the Fergie (Duchess of Pork) and scratching in her cupboards and of her running on the beach with Pamela Anderson (in a red bathing costume) with pieces of tissue pasted to her groin area after giving herself a bikini wax.  I have heard her advertising the show on Cape Talk in a pretty upbeat way so I was under the impression that we were having an evening of stand up comedy.  I made sure that Lesley booked tickets near the back because I did not want to become the brunt of any of her jokes.
Well what a shock.  Today I am still a bit shattered and confused about my take on the show.  I am amazed at what a good actress Ruby Wax really is but as for the comedy side of it, I did not figure out too well.  I felt at times that even although I wanted to laugh, that it was not really right to laugh and at other times I was embarrassed that people were laughing when she looked like she was crying (and still making jokes about her sad situation).  However, she was warm and funny and the kind of person that you would love to have in your home for a meal, a drink or even a cup of tea and listen to her stories (hoping too that she could be serious (and enjoy chilled white wine)).  We also happened to have a very irritating guy a couple of rows in front of us who got himself so absorbed in the show that he kept answering her back, he roared with laughter all the time and kept repeating the jokes to his partner - this gave an echo effect which also put me off.  At interval, I realised that he was upsetting the row of crazy, vodka and red bull ladies sitting behind us just as much.  One of them (dressed in leathers) accosted him as he was heading for the bar area and he sis not come back after interval.  The crazies behind us were very pleased with themselves (and me with them).

This morning I did a bit of research on Ruby and this is an excerpt from The Guardian:-

"Four and a half years ago, Ruby Wax found herself hospitalised with what she calls "the tsunami of all depressions". After many months of treatment – sandwiched between sitting in a chair, staring catatonically into space – she recovered sufficiently to write a show, Live from the Priory, with her friend Judith Owen, which they performed in both private and NHS mental health institutions.

For a couple of years it was all quite low key, until Wax inadvertently became the mental illness celebrity, after allowing her face to be plastered all over the London Underground on Comic Relief posters, with a caption saying that she suffered from depression. "I hadn't quite anticipated the level of response," she admits. After initially feeling rather overwhelmed, she soon came to embrace it, because for every one crass comment about her "looking too well to be depressed", there were dozens more from fellow sufferers, thanking her for coming out the closet.

"There is still a huge stigma attached to mental illness in this country," she says. "Being depressed has become the modern-day witch trials. People can't see it and they don't understand it: some are worried it might be catching. For those who do come clean about their illness, the consequences can be catastrophic. While some industries are now more relaxed about it, there are still many in which your career is effectively over. You can't run a company once you've declared you've been diagnosed as clinically depressed. So the pressure to keep it to yourself, to try and tough it out, can be overwhelming. And, almost invariably, the longer you wait to get help, the worse the problem gets."

Once installed as the poster girl for depression, Wax and Owen sharpened up their act and took it around the country, culminating in an extended run in London's West End. The first half of the show was pretty much what you might have expected: a funny (mental illness is a much-underused comedy resource) and informative tour of depression, with a little Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thrown in for good measure. The second half, a question-and-answer session with the audience, was anything but."
 Ruby after the show, asking if she could please take a picture of me
Sorry for the blur - trying to take it in a sneaky way with no glasses 
and on the wrong setting (but it is her, promise)
Nice dotty handbag!!
The 3 Stooges
Harry, Mo and Curly Joe

So I have told you before that I do not have a sense of humour and not much has changed.  I did not find the funny parts funny but I thoroughly enjoyed her warmth, personality and vulnerability.  She has obviously been through a lot and I hope that she is doing it from her heart and not just to make money (she commented a few too many times about her illness costing them lots of money).   One thing we all agree on is that there is not enough understanding of depression and mental illness around and, if through doing what she is good at, she succeeds in creating awareness, then she is doing a good job.

Cape Town people, see it for yourselves and let me know what you think.  It is on until 28 April 2012 at the Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay.

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