Former psychiatric nurse Rob Gee returns to Hereford with Kevin, King of Egypt, a show, like last year's Forget Me Not: The Alzheimer's Whodunnit, that finds the humour in mental health challenges. And, more importantly, says Rob, the shows are about demonstrating that such challenges can affect anyone in the vast space that lies between 'axe wielding nutters' and creative geniuses like Stephen Fry. "It happens to ordinary people."

Rob's journey from nursing to the stage was less dramatic, he reveals, than it might seem. "I started doing performance poetry when I was 20 and still training, so I've always had the two things in my life," he explains. "And I always worked shifts, so it was very easy to fit gigs in.

"When the poetry started doing well I scaled down my hours, so there was never a moment when I had to take a leap from one to the other."

But, he says, he keeps his nursing registration - after all, "psychiatric nursing is about as recession-proof a career as you can have, and I'd feel vulnerable without it."

Initially, though, his performing career did not take inspiration from his nursing career. "Initially I was half of a double act doing filthy songs at places like Les Jongleurs, and there was a really big gap before I wrote anything about mental health."

When he did it was because psychiatric nursing is about people "and people are interesting and when people experience extremes they become even more interesting!

"I have seven shows, of which three are about mental health and they are always the most successful, the ones people are more interested in. So I write other shows almost to prove to myself that I can.

"These shows (like Kevin, King of Egypt) are popular because a lot of people have had experience of it, even by default and we are all aware that it could happen to us.

If there's a thread, it's that - it's part of a range of human experience. If we see a show about dementia, we know there's a chance it can happen to us.

"As George Bernard Shaw said 'If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you'."

"In Kevin, King of Egypt the eponymous hero is in the middle of a manic psychosis and is pretty convinced that he's the reincarnation of an Egyptian pharaoh.

"On an emotional level," says Rob, "the audience is rooting for him, because he's nicer than the other characters in the show. But on a logical level you don't want him to get to Egypt, which creates a conflict. And that's what nursing someone like Kevin would be like. You have to deny a patient a lot of their rights but you do it with the best of motivations, but because they're in the middle of a manic psychosis they're not thanking you for it."

Rob says that the first performance of Kevin was to a group of ex-patients "I was more nervous than I'd ever been," he reveals. "But it went down great. One gentleman I had nursed many times had similar symptoms to Kevin's and he came up to me with a massive grin, saying 'A pharoah. Not really a very big delusion of grandeur!"

Escaped psychiatric patient Kevin Haggerty is not pleased about his diagnosis, even less pleased about being on a section of the Mental Health Act and distinctly upset about being told he is not the reincarnation of the pharaoh Ramses II. On his way to Egypt, via the Tesco Express, he stumbles across the nemesis to all his plans: Millie – a lost six-year-old. Together they embark on a journey that will change both their lives forever.

Kevin, King of Egypt will be in The Courtyard’s Studio Theatre on Friday, February 1 at 7.45pm. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit