With the help of singer songwriter Judith Owen, Ruby Wax turns the laser beam of her zany comedy on her life: growing up in Florida with eccentric Viennese Jewish parents, getting into acting school in Britain, the give and take of marriage (explained in inimitable Ruby Wax style), being a mother and descending into the personal hell of depression. The latter being very challenging not only for oneself but also one's nearest and dearest.
Wax and Owen also cover the process of emerging from the experience of battling depression. Increased self-knowledge, gained through psychotherapy and reflection helps. Very useful too is knowledge about the illness and, not least, assistance from appropriate drugs. Judith Owen's songs lyrically and musically supplement Ruby Wax's stories. This combination works.
Throughout the show Ruby Wax turns the observational laser beam on herself and those around her. Everyone, particularly a depressed person, needs a friend who understands and is supportive; Judith Owen and Ruby Wax clearly are such friends to each other.
Clinical depression is a mental illness and as such carries a stigma that physical illness does not. Well-meant advice from friends and family to “perk-up” is not helpful. The show was originally developed for other depressed people and performed in clinics specialising in its treatment. Wax and Owen seek to create understanding for the fact that depression is also has aspects of a physical illness of the brain. Antidepressants really help put the physical mechanisms of the brain back in order. Understanding the mechanisms and “thought-circuits” that lead into the depth of clinical depression can sometimes help the sufferer stop its onset. At the end of the show there is an opportunity to ask questions of the two protagonists.
Notwithstanding its partly pedagogic intent, Losing It manages to be funny, intelligent, honest and moving.