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Rob Gee

Fruitcake-Ten Commandments from the Psych Ward

Location + schedule

U of M Rarig Center Thrust
330 21st Ave. S, Main Floor

DateTimeMy FringeAccess
Saturday 8/77:00 p.m.  
Sunday 8/84:00 p.m. AD
Wednesday 8/115:30 p.m. ASL
Friday 8/135:30 p.m.  
Sunday 8/157:00 p.m.  
About the show

Contains Adult language
For ages 16+
Spoken word, Comedy,

Created by Rob Gee
From Leiceister, England

Overall rating

UK based comic, poet and reformed psychiatric nurse, Rob Gee presents a user-friendly guide to losing the plot.

"Dr. Seuss for Adults! One of the most gifted and funny poets in Britain today" Hammer & Tongue (UK)

Winner - Best of Fest, 2009 Winnipeg Fringe
Winner - Sold Out Award 2010 Orlando Fringe
100% sold out at the 2009 Edmonton Fringe

“Be prepared to be blown away ... a master storyteller!” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

“The kind of Fringe performer you pray you’ll discover ... awe inspiring” Orlando Sentinel

“A highly entertaining gem … this is one show you'd be crazy to miss!” Eye Weekly (Canada)

“The missing link between theatre and rock 'n' roll … a tour de force!” Times Colonist (Canada)

Rob Gee
Role: Comic and Poet
Rob spent eleven years working as a registered nurse in psychiatric units around the U.K. Now working full-time as a comedian and slam poet, he has performed with Harold Pinter and won numerous poetry slams, including the Edinburgh Slam, the Toronto Slam, and the BBC's Why Poetry Matters Slam. Rob's in the only performance ever to have instigated a fight at the UK's Leamington Spa Peace Festival.

“One of those rare performers who immediately engages, befriends and electrifies an audience within seconds of appearing on stage” Beat Magazine, Canada

“A natural-born storyteller ... madly engaging!” Toronto Star

"Genius!" Winnipeg Free Press

“What makes this show so good? Simply put, Rob Gee, one of the most amiable performers you’ll ever have the chance of seeing, loves to tell stories, and the stories he tells are hilarious. Seldom have I seen a performer who seems to be so thoroughly enjoying himself on stage. His enthusiasm is as honest as it is infectious.” Plank Magazine (Canada)

"Boundless reserves of whacked out material ... I was bowled over!" Edmonton Journal

“Rob Gee is has brilliantly married comedy, storytelling and poetry in a way I have never seen before in my life as a Fringe artist/producer. He sold out shows at Orlando Fringe, won the Fringe Poetry Smackdown Slam 2010 title, won the 2010 Fringe Toast-Off, got voted best bet of the Fringe by all our notable reviewers and was one of the most adored artists at The Orlando Fringe. He has a way with language and words that marry high brow and low brow Brit wit perfectly. Take it from a Fringe producer who has seen it all … his show is a MUST SEE!”
Beth Marshall, Artistic Producer, Orlando Fringe, June 2010

User reviews

And to think I almost missed this!!
by Sharon Kahn Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Absolutely brilliant, possibly the best performance I saw this year. With his rubber face, restless energy and manic grin, this guy is a riveting story-teller. And what stories! The words pour out at breakneck speed, and soon the empty stage seems to be overflowing with funny / sad / horrifying / tragicomic characters from Rob's years as a psychiatric nurse.

It may sound mean to be laughing at mentally ill people, but Rob's heart is as big as his sense of humor and he tells these stories with an equal serving of compassion and wit. When I have my psychotic break, I just hope I'm on his floor!

Fun, crazy, engaging one-man show
by Gabriel Heller Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Another show I wish I could give four-and-a-half kitties, but I'm giving it 4. Rob Gee is goofy but brilliant. He is not a great actor, but he has such a unique personality, look, and style of movement that he's consistently entertaining whatever he does. And what he does is the best "show about this crazy job I had once" I've seen this fringe. Note that for once it wasn't "a job I hated" and that he worked in Britain under socialized medicine. And it was when he lost that job due to Britain emulating the U.S. system that he hit the road with this show. But I'm not in this to make political points. I'm here to review the show which was excellent in many ways, not the least of which was his sympathetic and humorously accurate portrayal of clearly intelligent people like you and me, who just happen to have one or another kind of mental illness.

Another great solo performer!
by TJ Hara Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I saw this show on the advice of my favorite one-man-act from last year's Fringe Festival, Burning Man and the Reverend Nuge's Tommy Nugent, and I'm very happy I did. Rob presents funny, fascinating and sometimes horrifying stories from the field of mental health and ties them together into one engaging narrative. Of particular interest to me was his ability to fluidly switch from prose to verse and back in the middle of telling his stories. Regrettably, like other shows I saw on the Thrust stage this year, he was hampered somewhat by some unfortunate tech problems, but he has a good voice for the space he was performing in and the problem didn't become really apparent to me until his musical finale. I hope Minnesota Fringe-goers and Surly beer will be inducement enough to bring Rob Gee back to Minnesota again in 2011 and beyond.

11th Commandment - Don't miss this show!
by Bradley Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Rob Gee took me to the psych ward and showed everyone how to restrain me. He is a very entertaining storyteller and he brings to us the stories of everyday people who just happen to be dealing with mental illness. Only 1 show left, Sunday at 7pm. Great way to end the Fringe!

Best Way To Present Tough Psych Stories
by Mark Long Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
If someone were to just tell you stories of people in a psych ward, it would get old and sad after 10 minutes. But, Rob does a great job of spinning the stories through his rhyming and rhythmic brain before he tells them.
Yes, his accent is a little heavy for some, but you should be able to tune your ear to it within minutes.
The stories are sad, horrifying and funny. I don't think anyone wants first-hand (pun intended) knowledge of what goes on in a psych ward, but getting them second-hand through Rob is engaging and interesting.
I am eager to see him return to the Minnesota Fringe.

Last Minute Luck
by Sid Solomon Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Came to Rarig with intentions of seeing another show, only to be grabbed by some friends and hauled into the Thrust for FRUITCAKE. I was not disappointed.

Rob Gee weaves informal dialogue with the audience, structured monologue, spoken word/slam poetry, and song into a compelling and immensely watchable evening of theater. As strong a storyteller as you'll see at the Fringe.

Fascinating stories
by Nanette Stearns Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I found both the stories themselves and his style to be entertaining, engrossing, and touching. Mental health issues aren't necessarily funny but he brought them alive and helped us laugh at ourselves and our "issues." I liked the Jamaican God too!

More anecdotes
by Kristi Lawless Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
My favorite parts were when he was telling stories of specific things that happened on his job. Although his telling of a particular story from the point of view of the patient was fascinating...and a bit horrifying.

Good and Interesting
by Liz Floyd Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I love the accents. I'm glad I went, but compared to too many other great caliber of shows at the Fringe this year it is not packed with that same amount of entertainment. There were too many different names, patients and conditions for me to keep track of.

Finally Fruitcake I Love!
by Patrick Pfundstein Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Rob Gee takes an empty stage and fills it with touching and funny stories from his days of nursing in a psych facility. Told in verse and prose, and with unannounced changes in character (something I found very effective), and even a brief lesson in physical de-escalation, the show was not only very entertaining, but humanized people often viewed briefly in two dimensions. My only real gripe has to do with the Commandment structure; I could hear God all right, but these intervals tended to buzz-kill the momentum just a bit. But anybody who works in a reasonable rhyme for detritus in pretty awesome in my book!

Fascinating and funny
by Tony Hanson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This man is a great story teller. His script is certainly novel and will hold your attention all the way through his performance.

You don't want to miss this show!

Don't Miss It
by Jan Shaw-Flamm Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Lots of humor and good storytelling, all done with compassion. Wish Rob Gee were local so I could go see more.

by mamie isner Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
for all the hype that occupied this show, I was disinterested by the 15th minute. You'll understand why when you see this.

Psychosis can be funny
by Robert Sidman Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Egad! Rob Gee's tour de force consisted of around 10,000 words, all intelligible. I have worked in a psychiatric hospital; my daughter is a psychiatric nurse, and I once had a part in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Rob drew on his experience in a psych ward and everything he said - and the pace at which he said it - rang true to me.

Love that UK Accent
by Carole Vandal Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Rob Gee is a riot as he shares some of the funniest stories about his psychiatric nursing career. Rob is gifted at laughing with his audience, at himself and at lots of other crazies he has been privileged to have encountered.

You have to see him so you too can laugh as hard as those of us who have gone on before you did. Rob Gee was born to be a Fringe performer.

Either Dead or Doing Well
by Dave Romm Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Rob Gee spent eleven years as a registered psych nurse. He can handle a Fringe audience. True stories (with the names changed) are hilarious and maudlin at the same time. These are real people, in bad situations not always of their making. Rob's delivery is perfect: As fast-paced as Jimmy Hogg (and with a thicker, non-Jamaican, accent), he tells tales of the committed, and how to handle them. Caring yet cynical, and always hilarious.

Since Rob always reads reviews: Thanks for revealing how to say "fisting" in ASL. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.

Longer reviews with pictures at Baron Dave's LiveJournal and snarky comments on Facebook.

a fun hour
by mark browning milner Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
rob reads his reviews, and so we had a vote at our show to decide if god should have a female jamaican accent (as recorded and complained about in other reviews - although we were assured the technical issues had been solved) or rob's brit voice - we went full rasta. rob has been the only performer i've seen to interact with, do jokes about (what *is* the sign for "fisting"?), and acknowledge his translator. this is a welcoming, interactive, very funny show.

He Honors Their Stories
by Pamela Veeder Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Poet Rob Gee successfully maneuvers the fine line between honoring the individuals whose stories he shares, patient confidentiality, and making those individuals the brunt of our laughter. Belly laughs mix with horror and wry amusement combine for an enjoyable production. The distorted sound of the voice- overs and closing song are a bit distracting.

by Jamie Chilvers Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
An eminentlly likeable performer. Great storyteller, poet, comic- loved it. Come back soon!!

Highly recommended
by Publius McGee Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Cheerful and compelling, this show was rock solid, funny without being disrespectful, somber without being a downer. The woman's voice reciting the commandments was difficult to understand, and there were some sound difficulties, but other than that, it was perfect. Definitely a must-see.

Could listen to Rob all day!
by Murray WithTheFringeOnTop Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I just adored this show. I loved the subject matter, I loved the total simultaneousness of maudlin situations and sunny outlook, and I loved the quirkiness of style in which it was presented. I'm so happy when out of towners choose to participate in our Fringe -- which, really, happens a lot less than it does at other Fringes, because we don't give them 6-8 performances or 100% of the box office (boo!) -- and I really hope audiences keep supporting them so that they come back! It's GREAT and EXCITING to have that variety in our Minnesota mix! :)

Without Restraint
by Reid Gagle Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Exuberantly engaging Rob Gee tells empathetic but humorous tales from his years of experience as a psych ward nurse. Don’t let this scare you off, but he even slips in some poetry, delivered so naturally that even I enjoyed it without benefit of meds. Note: sit on the aisle at your own risk.

I Want This Man As My Therapist!
by David Rust Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Rob Gee is a genius in more ways than one. Not only was he a certified nurse caring for the certifiable but his ability to script poetry and tell stories from his time as a nurse in psychiatric wards is pure showmanship.

The stories of various patients in psychiatric care run from the harmless to the shocking ... from two patients who rob a bank with squirt guns to buy everyone a round of drinks at the local pub to a man who has cut his own hand off.

But far be it from being bleak! "Fruitcake" is remarkably uplifting. Despite the drugs, the fights, the long-term patients, and the seemy underside of mental healthcare of the past, Rob Gee keeps a very positive outlook during the 10-stages of his monologue. Each one, by the way, is introduced by a woman's voice invoking one of Gee's "10 Commandments" of mental healthcare.

Mind you, the echoes of the chamber and the accent of the woman doing the voice-over (I think it was Jamaican) made it difficult to understand the words she spoke but after a bit I got used to it.

If I had to give a critique that would reflect other people's potential enjoyment (or non-enjoyment, as the case may be) it would be that not everyone is as familiar with British jargon and slang as I am. I had no trouble following Rob Gee and, really, enjoyed every minute of it. He strikes me as a man who knows how to find humor in serious circumstances with great insight into the human mind: both in psychology and performance.

Who’s In, Who’s Out?
by August Berkshire Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
It must be tough to find humor in the difficult conditions of a psychiatric ward, but Rob Gee does a good job of it without feeling like he is exploiting the patients. He reminds us that we are each one unfortunate circumstance away from needing help ourselves. The vignettes range in quality from 3 to 5 kitties.

Made me feel sane
by amihan huesmann Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Great writing, great performance. The "characters" were compelling, though numerous. The only thing that didn't do it for me, unfortunately, was the very end---who's idea was the singing?

by Bill McTeer Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Having recently spent a lot of time caregiving, much of this material strikes a very true note. People are funny, even sick ones and caregivers need to maintain some emotional distance to survive. Nevertheless, I can't get away from feeling that a little of this material crosses from comic to gratuitously mean.

Rob is a very skilled performer and very high energy. He is fun to watch. Between 3 and 4 kitties for me.

Mental Stability
by Ronald Laudner Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
If you don't see this show... You should be checked in and evaluated... what a great find!

Bedlam Boys Are Bonny
by Kathy Douglass Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
For me the writing made this show. It's a master class on how to write an autobiographical one man show and make it coherent and artistic. Rob Gee is a truely engaging performer. But the other reviewers are correct and Rob would do well to listen to this constructive criticism.

Your accent is strong, it is a little hard to understand. You need to slow down and perhaps take a few lessons to tone it down a bit. AND the Jamaican VO was totally unintelligible. Please rethink the song at the end. Not needed and anti-climactic.

But still -- I was impressed. :)

Insanity from the inside
by Peter Erickson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
The funny thing about this one-man show is that, while it is hilarious, the material is at its core really rather sad. Nevertheless, I recommend it highly--a view of a place most of us never see. Rob Gee presents his insane characters with accuracy and respect. His accent and rapid delivery may make for a lost line here or there, but most came through clearly. Between each story or poem, there are "Voice of God" pronouncements, which helped to delineate each part, but were hard to understand and overly loud. The show would work well enough without them.

Crazy good
by Kirsten Stephens Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Very funny stories, delivered with energy and wit. Had a bit of trouble understanding the voice of God, between the Jamaican accent and the applause from the previous story. On a technical note, tweaking the volume levels for the song at the end would help - couldn't hear the lyrics very well.

An entertaining surprise
by Justin Alexander Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
If you've been in the Rarig Center this year, then you've probably met Rob Gee. He's been enthusiastically hyping his show with a friendly smile and well-practiced patter since the festival began, and I'm glad for it: If he hadn't, I would have missed a very entertaining show.

First, let's discuss the bad: Every single show I've seen in the Rarig Thrust and Proscenium that I've seen this year featuring microphones or recorded sound cues has suffered from problems which they are apparently trying to solve by cranking the volume up (which only makes it worse). It's been pervasive enough that I'm no longer certain it's the individual shows which are the root of the problem here. In any case, Gee's pre-recorded sound cues suffer from this.

Fortunately, these introductory clips make up an incredibly tiny sliver of the show. And while they're fairly funny when they can be understood, they're not really necessary to appreciate Gee's comedically gifted stories.

Gee is possessed of a kind of facile goofiness which lends a constant, comfortable patina to his tales. But what makes this show click are the deeper emotional truths that lie underneath the glib surface: Gee takes us on a journey from neophyte to burn-out to rejuvenation; from institutional manifestos to personal touches; from hope to hopelessness. And while he shows us the lighter side of insanity (because sometimes you have to laugh or go mad yourself), he also delves down into the heart of madness itself.

Gee manages to walk a fine tightrope, and succeeds at creating a show which is simultaneously hilarious, heartfelt, and illuminating.

Insanity was never this funnny
by Chris Young Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This was a surprise show for me. I wasn't planning on seeing this one, but this strange and energetic bald man walked up to me while in line for another show and began speaking to me about this show. There was something about him that intrigued me. His choice of words was amazing and his rants were indescribable.

An unexpected treat
by Florence Brammer Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I wasn't planning on seeing this, but Gee gave me a postcard while I was in a line for another show, so I wandered in. Gee hit the floor running and gave 100% to his performance with infectious energy and great attention to detail. While some segments were stronger than others, much of the material was very moving, insightful and informative. I agree with the other reviewers that the voiceover of the Ten Commandments was largely unintelligble, which was distracting, irritating and -- I suspect -- interfered with fully appreciating the themes of each segment. (I don't think it was the accent of the actor providing the voiceover; I think it was probably a fixable technical issue).

You'd be NUTS to miss it!
by Fringivitis Vulgaris Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I didn't want this show to end! Yes, there are 10 very sound commandments if one should work in a psych ward. Rob Gee's wealth of stories is matched by his skill with words. There are moments of audience participation and other moments of self-conscious recognition (am I projecting?). If you know the cornucopia of pharmaceutical cash cows, so much the better. Not all played for yucks either - he knows these are real people.

by David Trudeau Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
Started out with a bang with slam poetry and some brilliant rants on psychopharma and mental health delivery but soon lost its advocacy punch as Gee's phrenetic delivery and leering affect seemed to ridicule sick people. What were the 10 commandments foggily enunciated in a thick Caribbean accent by "God" over a distorting amp? I and my friends could understand only a few words. Each of ten vignettes was introduced by one of these unintelligible "commandments," supposedly setting up a premise. There was only enough material here for maybe four or five "commandments". And while I understand the gallows humor when mental health professionals who work on the back wards share war stories as a way to decompress and blow off after a long shift, there is a lot of implied understanding between them about why they are there. The translation of such clinical anecdotes to a comedy routine for their yuck value became increasingly callous and uncaring.

Insanely Funny!
by evelyn blum Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This has been my first surprise hit of the fringe this season. Didn't get a preview on this one, Wasn't on my radar to see, until this odd bald man handed out his post card to me while waiting online for another show. He was as insane as his Material, and I just hope to find that sense of insanity one day in my life! I was amazed at his use of words, and his delivery!

this wordsmith is no myth
by Amanda Sue Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I don't even know how to review this; it was so great!

Rob presented mental health in a completely honest, organic way- truly from an insider's perspective. The collected stories humanized the "psychological disorders" that often carry a heavy stigma.

The storytelling was purely captivating- no props (except for during 1 musical interlude), no special lighting, no unnecessary spectacle. Rob really understands rhythm and chooses his words with such preciseness that you could listen to him for hours.

An engaging performance and a great story- highly recommended!

Wonderful and Funny
by Tim Voss Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Oh, my! Rob Gee has given us a bright, funny, and very sympathetic take on madness. It was a refreshing take on a topic too often ignored or treated badly. Excellent work.

Insanity Well Channeled
by Paul Mattes Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
It could have been just a guy telling stories about an awful job, but it came to more than that. It was a genuine view into a world that most of us never see, told in a really entertaining way. It never fell flat.

The Voice of God was sometimes a bit hard to understand, and Rob's enthusiastic delivery sometimes overran my input buffer, but neither really detracted from the experience.

by SBRK Hart Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Rob Gee is great! What a delightful and funny hour about a serious subject (mental illness). Not sure how he found the MN Fringe all the way from England, but we are lucky he did. Gee draws from real situations he knew or knew about when he was a nurse in a psych ward, and without a prop makes them real, hysterical and touching.

Good show..... accents require attentio
by jill hiede Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Really enjoyed the show! The dialogue is dense and rich. Interesting characters, shared with intriguing depth, humanity, and care. The English and Jamacian accents can make it challenging at times.... It could be worse!