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Fringe Review: Forget Me Not—The Alzheimer’s Whodunnit

By Barbara Popel on June 17, 2022

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Forget Me Not—The Alzheimer’s Whodunnit
Created by Rob Gee
Produced by Rob Gee (Leicester, UK)
60m | 14+ | Comedy
Content warnings: mental health

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Alzheimer’s”? Depressing? A frightening disease? Pathetic old people? But do you think of an audience laughing during a story set in a “challenging behaviour ward” for patients with late-stage dementia?

Be prepared for all this, and more.

The brilliant Brit, Rob Gee, gifts his audience a crisply scripted murder mystery worthy of Dame Agatha Christie. At the same time, many of the 15 characters Gee plays deliver very funny lines. The officious police detective who arrives late in the story is my favourite; he spouts hilarious mixed metaphors such as “It isn’t rocket surgery!”

And Gee elicits empathy from us for “the people with the worst memories (who) still tend to be the most forgotten about.”

First we meet Elsie, a retired psych ward nurse who has been diagnosed with dementia. She knows what lies ahead. She’s writing a letter to her future nurse—the one who will eventually take care of her every bodily need. She writes, “The fact that I’m losing my memory doesn’t mean I don’t feel emotions.”

Later we meet Jim, Elsie’s husband of half a century. Jim is a retired police chief inspector. We soon realize that he himself is in the early stages of dementia. Elsie has just died, supposedly after an accidental fall in the psych ward. Sad but stoical, he says, “I’ve spent five years grieving. Maybe I’ve run out of grief.” And Jim has noticed several suspicious things in Elsie’s room. He carefully writes them down in a little black book because “my memory isn’t what it used to be.” He begins interviewing people and gathering evidence for his little black book.

Then someone murders the vile psych ward manager. Did Jim do it? “This murder is so perfect, you could hide it from yourself.”

Rob Gee uses his considerable talents and his 12 years of experience as a psychiatric nurse to bring us into the world of dementia sufferers, their families, and their caregivers. As CBC Manitoba said, it’s “funny—and heartbreaking—as hell.”

This is a must-see!


Forget Me Not—The Alzheimer’s Whodunnit by Rob Gee is playing at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Avenue) until June 25, 2022. Tickets are $12 online (plus a $2 processing fee) and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at https://apt613.ca/category/festival/fringe/.

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