One Flew Over The Cluedo Board!

Forget Me Not

Rob Gee

Walker Theatre

23 March 2017

If it was Mr Gee’s aim to confuse us as much as his characters appeared to be in this one man show, he was highly successful. However one is certain that the confusion occurred more by accident than good management.

The show is billed as part social commentary, park black comedy and part Cluedo. Confused? You will be. The story follows an ex-Detective as he, who himself is in the early stages of dementia, struggles to solve a series of murders that leaves three dead. One was the ex-Detective’s wife.

That’s enough of the story I wouldn’t want to spoil it. Maybe I have already given you too much info and you are wildly incandescent with rage; but this is a show that you either love or hate.  If you fail to see any humour in dementia then you are pretty much up a creek without a paddle.

This is a show that pulls no punches, as part of a trio of works about mental health one maybe forgiven for not racing to get tickets for the other two works.

The root problem for the viewer is the likability of the characters or their lack of it. The carers who in reality do wonderful yet  under-thanked and underpaid work, were portrayed as shiftless skivers insensitive and blind to the need of the charges. The dementia patients were also portrayed as hopeless and thoughtless individuals and the policeman, who mixed his metaphors with tedious regularity, was a complete idiot.

Rob Gee the actor who brought all this to the audience, is an animated, affable comedy poet and with the use of rhyming couplets or near rhyme, it was his script he was circumnavigating and the writing was good. His mercurial mind as a poet led us quickly over ground that needed no more explanation. It was also obvious that Mr. Gee has experience in the care industry but heaven forbid if he behaved as his characters did in this difficult piece.

In favour one would say that theatre should challenge, theatre should raise questions, art can solve more than a man with a gun ever can. But the question is to what degree does one assault the audience without giving them some sort of lifeline?

That lifeline was given  through the use of  humour. The question remains unanswered however, does mental illness need portraying on British stages as if it were something that doesn’t matter? Or something from which one can squeeze a cheap laugh? It really does matter and needs careful thought before handling.

This is a great fringe show and has won awards at many. It is adeptly written and extremely well acted. The use of coloured lights cleverly helped audience members keep track of which character was which. Importantly one would say that for a One Man Show Rob Gee makes a great job of making the space look full.

This Is a Three Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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