Brighton Fringe 2014
The Brighton and Sussex Medic Revue is a unique show within the Brighton Fringe, with medical students making up the writers, cast, and crew. Opening with a disclaimer that promised bad acting and a journey through the isms, the revue is well produced and entertaining, and accessible for those without medical knowledge. Writers: Matthew Davenport) and Amy Sharpe with contributions from Nathan Hodson, Ishpal Moonga, Tabby Campbell and Mario Amato.
The Brighton and Sussex Medic Revue has been running for seven years, and this performance at the Sallis Benney Theatre is the latest instalment of a show that never promises to be subtle. There are sketches, songs, and video, all performed in good humour, as well as a pre-recorded narration between scenes. The opening narration sets the mood for the show – telling the audience to expect bad acting and bad language, and inviting any offended audience members not leave, but rather to exit in a dramatic fashion mid-performance, as this is more entertaining.
The quality of the writing is as good as you would expect from any other sketch show, taking on subjects including hospital bureaucracy, the class system, sexuality, living in Brighton, reality TV shows, and of course, musical theatre. The writers should be applauded for taking a number of complex medical subjects and making them accessible. The only real issue with the show is that some of the jokes felt (unsurprisingly) very studenty, and in particular two bad taste jokes in the second act really didn’t serve the show. The writers are clearly very talented and it was a shame that they chose to go down that path as the rest of the material is very strong.
It would be unfair to judge the performers as actors, and what they lacked in technical ability they made up for in commitment, energy and organisation. What they were able to do very well, however, was give the audience an insight into the life of a medical student, with scenes such as ‘Live at the OSCEs’ (a parody of Soccer Saturday set at the end-of-year exams) and ‘The Medical School Interview’ being executed with perfect comedy timing. The show beams high production values, which gives the performers confidence, and the contribution of the live band is excellent. The sound quality in some of the video clips was lacking places, but the sketches are well paced and well put together.
The show has great entertainment value, and although on a couple of occasions I felt like I was on the outside of an in-joke, the show didn’t feel exclusive. The audience received the show well, and I gathered from the raucous laughter of many of the medical students in the audience that much of what we had seen was true to life. The musical side of the show takes on modern pop music as well as parodies of Wicked and Grease, and the audience responded favourably to all of the musical numbers.
The producers do well to ensure that the audience know what to expect ahead of the show, and as long as you take this show for what it is – medical students having a bit of fun – it can’t be faulted. Technically it may not be a masterpiece, but it’s still a very worthwhile evening’s entertainment.