Ruby Wax: Sane New World

Only Ruby Wax would have the tenacity to walk on stage, hardly acknowledge the audience and make herself a cup of tea before beginning to even think about starting her show. She certainly continued to do things her way throughout, delivering her set in a wide range of situations: from reclining on a sofa to bouncing on a yoga ball. All the while Wax sets about producing a thoughtful show predominantly involving the omnipresent stress of modern life.

The real magic of the show lay in the more academic sections

It is clear enough that the primary aim of the show is not to make people laugh as much as possible, and so it must be judged accordingly. With Sane New World, the aim is to convey a far more serious thought; Wax is planting a seed amongst us to reconsider the way we all see, experience and deal with stress or insecurity. The comedy is included in order to make the subject entertaining and it certainly sparked my interest. That was a huge strength of the performance: it left me feeling inspired as well as entertained.

The links between the comedy and the academics were seamless and smooth. Yet during the first half I was left wondering down which path the show would go as it seemed to be neither a comedy set nor an educational talk. However the imaginative use of diagrammatic projections soon provided the answer. She struck a good balance between the enjoyable lecturing and the jucier comedic moments (my favourite being the apparent absurdity of yoga, or rather the standing-dog position).

The real magic of the show lay in the more academic sections, culminating in a period of meditation that Ruby led. The beauty of it was that it allowed us to experience what she had been telling us, that the topic was not something only found in books, but lay in our own minds. Yet rather than finishing with the thought-provoking section, she stayed true to her character and burst into a brilliant, raucous dance that had everyone laughing and clapping alike.

Though her comedy at times relied on self-deprecation and should perhaps be described as amusing rather than hilarious, her lightning-fast wit was on display during her answering of some bizarre audience questions over the Q&A section. One thing we can all be certain about, however, is that if all teachers and lecturers were like the ever-youthful Ruby Wax, the world would be a far better place.

Reviews by Hamish Clayton

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The Blurb

Helps us understand why we sabotage our sanity and provides a manual on how to survive the 21st century, using Ruby’s knowledge from her recent Masters Degree in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy at Oxford University spiked with comedy. Sane New World will show you how to rewire your thinking to find calm in a frenetic world and how to become the master, not the slave, of your own mind. ‘Wax has an extraordinary mind, and she has brought it to bear with her trademark wit... A Ruby beyond price’ (Stephen Fry).