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Review: Placebo Royale [Med Revue]

Elodie Cheesman gave them credit for trying.

Reach out and touch somebody...Placebo Royale. Photo: Andrew Simpson.
Reach out and touch somebody…Placebo Royale. Photo: Andrew Simpson.

My experience of the 2012 Med Revue Placebo Royale was eerily akin to the ‘Beauty of Natural Childbirth’ video I was forced to watch in Year 9 PDHPE; painfully drawn out, very laboured, and marked by an excess of bodily fluids.

The plot sketches, which centred around a hospital conspiracy to destroy Dr. James Bond’s med cred, provided a nice narrative continuity but often verged on interminable. Over-egged with bad puns and over-elucidated sexual innuendo (yes…we get it…Ms ‘Mona Lot’ is vocal in the bedroom!), the skits attracted as many derisive as indulgent groans.

While the laughs trickled in with fanciful movie parodies like ‘No Continence for Old Men’ and ‘When Harriet Met Salmonella’, the constant gush of diarrhoea, STD and erectile dysfunction allusions failed to strike an original tone.

I appreciated the effort to keep with the Bond theme and have medical (but not technically esoteric) relevance, but felt that this limited the show’s scope. Too much time was spent ridiculing other universities, international students, and other courses like dentistry. This was to be expected, but came across as puerile and defensive because the jokes were executed without flair.

Placebo Royale did garner some solid laughs with an asthmatic Darth Vader skit, and witty collection of alternative Med Revue titles, including ‘Womb Raider’ and ‘Finding Chemo’. While the nude ‘Bare Necessities’ musical number was a little wince-worthy, the cast’s homage to Robbie Williams with ‘Let Me Intubate You’ and earnest Simon & Garfunkel-inspired plea to ‘Let Me In, Dean Bruce Robinson’ were well-received.

Expecting to be in stitches, I was overall a little disappointed by Med Revue 2012. What redeemed it, however, was an appreciation of the effort that had gone into conceiving and delivering the production.

A somewhat juvenile and toothless show, it was nevertheless clearly a labour of love.