With the festival over for another year, seeing Ruby Wax on the final evening was perhaps a mistake. The mistake, I would argue, lies in the fact Wax is now suited to another festival format: a book festival. Be it at Aye Write! or at our sister city's festival in the east, the fact she was signing copies of her latest book Sane New World at the end should be a strong signifier for a move to a different format in the future.
A show of two halves, the opening act was not without laughs, though Wax has recently completed a Neuroscience Master's degree, and it did have a lecture-like feel complete with comedy PowerPoint (if such a thing exists). In fact, during the laboured audience Q&A session (the ill-fated second half) an audience member asked Wax if she'd like to lecture for her psychology course (all credit to Ruby Wax, she had to field questions like a seasoned baseball player, and avoided the more loaded or medically "high risk" queries).
The self-proclaimed "poster girl for mental health" has worked tirelessly to raise awareness since her 2011 Fringe show, Losing It, explored her battle with depression. Having seen that show, and its heated audience discussion, it was surprising that she embraced the same format, however Wax seems to thrive on the interaction and she would probably reason that it's linked to her thirst for the adrenalin hormone.
Dopamine was also on her mind and she equated society's anatomy of stress to the real turbo fuel of material lust. "We're sabotaging ourselves with our own thinking," Wax proclaimed. "Improvise your lives!" The next step (in her search for self and understanding) is studying evolutionary psychology and she thinks "Entitlement" is the disease of our age. Strong stuff for a Saturday night.