Rob Gee’s show Fruitcake, which he brought to the Calgary Fringe Festival last year, was so popular that there were 2 hour lineups towards the end of the fest. Gee’s newest creation, in this year’s fest is titled Smartarse, and to avoid the lineups, I saw it early.
Smartarse is a collection of poems and stories that all center around childhood. Gee kicks off the performance in the small space at Lolita’s Lounge (incredibly hot on this Friday evening) with a poem, created by children about ‘what would you do if you had an invisibility cloak?’ It is quite fun, written in rhyme. Gee then goes on to explore how we don’t encourage creativity when we move into adulthood and how we don’t take part in natural physical activity anymore. We go to the gym to try and replicate the activity that we learned naturally. This is the introduction of Smartarse – stories from Gee’s childhood.
Gee launches into stories about his father’s childhood and his own, he talks about the drug awareness campaign in the UK and tells multiple stories about creating poetry with children.
Smartarse is a performance complete with awkward dancing and poetry, but the components of it are not glued together well. Gee competes with the heat and the bustling venue of Lolita’s Lounge. It is tough competition and his performance isn’t compelling enough to keep his audience’s rapt attention. The stories and poetry are linked together loosely through the theme of children’s stories, but the production could use work to tie it all together. Gee is a talented performer, but Smartarse isn’t his best performance.
Smartarse is part of the Calgary Fringe Festival. There are 8 more chances to see it. More information is available online.