10 April 2016
Reviewed by Rebecca Banasko
I visited the Lowry with my friend to watch Ruby Wax. I always find the Lowry a very easy venue to visit in terms of access. It’s well signposted and has great transport links. It’s also located opposite the Lowry Shopping Outlet so it’s easy to make a night of it, with the numerous restaurants within a 2 minute walking distance of the Lowry entrance. We travelled by car, found it easily and parked with no problems. The staff at the Lowry are very helpful and there is always someone close by to ask questions and help if needed. My one criticism however is that there is never enough staff on the main bar. At a time when people want o grab a drink on the way in to the show, it resulted in us just getting in our seat with a minute to spare, despite arrive 20 minutes before the start which was really frustrating.
Ruby Wax entered the stage with another lady following close behind her. Ruby quickly explained that she was a BBC interviewer who was there to keep the discussion on track and ask her questions along the way, which of course, she couldn’t ask herself. Ruby was here to talk about her take on stress, depression and anxiety in the modern world. Why she thinks it happens and how she deals with it through mindfulness; something that her book ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’ talks about.
From the start Ruby was witty and incredibly funny. She spoke of mental illness which is an incredibly serious issue in a very honest way, but with the humour that you can only give it when you have been there and lived it. For me she made mental illness so much more real and abundant than I think I had perceived it to be. It was extremely insightful.
Ruby spoke of her own journey and the various therapies she had tried before finding mindfulness, which she then proceeded to master (quite literally) with gusto and passion. She eloquently explained the scientific concepts behind our thought processes and somehow, even if you can’t directly relate to Ruby’s experiences; parts of it are relevant to everyone as we all get Frazzled at times.
Ruby also had a number of mindfulness exercises which she showed to the audience, getting everyone to join in. They were really simple and effective and definitely something that myself and my friend have taken away with us.
During the interval there was a chance to buy a copy of Ruby’s book and she sat out in the foyer to sign them for people. I was really struck by how down to earth and accessible she is.
The second part of the show was just Ruby alone on the stage taking questions from members of the audience and engaging in dialogue with them. This was the most interesting part for me. People opened up to her immediately, wanting to know how she dealt with certain situations or her views on particular issues. There was one very emotional appeal from a mother and daughter in the audience who had suffered discrimination due to having a mental illness. Ruby asked them to join her backstage after the show, to discuss the matter further. It really said so much to me about how passionate she feels and how she ‘gets’ those complex experiences that afflict people with similar mental diseases.
Through offering a forum to the audience it was evidence that we were made up of an eclectic mix of frazzled psychoses’ as well, which made it even more genuine, interesting and funny at the same time.
I found the whole experience really eye opening as well as entertaining. I would definitely recommend seeing Ruby, if not to understand mental illness further but also to explore the concept of mindfulness which I think has a place in everyday life for anyone as a positive and affirming method of separating yourself from your thoughts no matter your level of Frazzled.
Ruby Wax is currently touring the UK with Frazzled, for more information and tour dates visit www.rubywax.net.
A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax (RRP: £14.99 Hardback) is available to buy from Amazon here.
For other shows at The Lowry visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000