Laughs galore and not a drop of blood in sight

2 March 2008

The Medics’ Revue, ADC Theatre, 27 Feb – 1 March, 23:00

Three Stars

Reviewer Annabel Banks

I always thought a medics revue sounded dangerous, and after reading this offering’s title (The Hysterectomy Boys) I was considering tying my hair up, sitting at the back and bringing an umbrella. I mean, they had to throw blood at us at some point, right?

Wrong! I am delighted to report that the only thing thrown at us were nicely-timed, well-worked comedy chunks. Some of this material was incredibly strong, and although there’s a noticeable reprise of ideas like religion vs. consumerism, each approach maintained the level of good intelligent humour (and the odd frisson of sexual knowingness) that elevated the evening into a more adult frame than I was expecting.

The cast of medics and vets are all confident performers. You can’t imagine these guys ever being serious enough to drop a medical bombshell; far too beautifully bouncy, and rubbish at hiding the fact that they are enjoying themselves. The theatre was packed, always a bonus for comedy, and as sketch piled upon sketch I marvelled at these medical wonders. I mean – where do they find the time?

But it was the musical numbers that took me by surprise; confident piping by Chris Tong et al pulls us into a world where Dennis Potter meets Little Britain and results in hilarity. I don’t want to ruin anything for you – suffice to say that the sperm song and its tongue-in-cheek (…do I really mean that?) ending prompted riotous laughter and applause, and is one of the funniest thing I have witnessed so far in my Cambridge reviewing career. The final number (where environmental policy gets the Disney treatment) had us cheering in our seats. Brilliant.

The only material weakness came from moments when a successful sketch ended with an abstract punch line – maybe they were medic in-jokes, but I was left too puzzled to laugh, and it interrupted the flow of what was otherwise a spirited relationship between players and played-at. However, I am sure such a keen ensemble as this are already re-working the lines for the next performance, so let’s call it one of those first night things and move on.

Whether you are a medic or not I’m sure you need be looking after yourself a little better. After all, you’re far from home, you work hard, and you deserve an hour of skilled treatment. I know I did. You’ll leave refreshed and happy- and there’s not a drop of blood in sight.