Jeremy Hunt and Other Spelling Mistakes

Sun 17th – Sat 23rd August 2014

reviews

Oliver Collard

at 09:59 on 21st Aug 2014

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Jeremy Hunt and Other Spelling Mistakes was a sketch show that offered an hour of accessible iatric satire from the St. Georges’ Medics' Revue, who proved that there is plenty of comic mileage in the medical profession but also skittered through other topics and offered some more situational moments of comedy too.

The opening sketch was a Book of Mormon parody which exchanged the silly religious homily of the musical for a medical one which poked fun at doctors. Other successes included: Virgin Healthcare persuading the titular MP to let them take over the NHS with some flashy marketing spiel, some deliberately obfuscating cockney rhyming medical jargon which confused the students, and the World Health Organisation inventing pandemics to keep us terrified. This last one showed that these students certainly had their finger on the pulse of current affairs, as Ebola became the latest fear mongering conspiracy.

As the show progressed, the sketches expanded in scope. Some religious parents hypocritically poured scorn on one father who explained the world to his son using the Matrix. In a send up of UKIP, the senile figures of Nigel Farage (Niggle Farridge) and Godfrey Bloom admitted that most of their policies are just attempts to make everyone think they’re not really racist. A joke was made of Farage’s man down the pub image: ‘alcoholism does not form the basis of good social policy’.

Once or twice, I found myself waiting for a punchline to arrive. A medical tribunal where a judge sentences diabetes itself to death is needlessly prolonged, an excuse to get some funny American accents in. A couple of sketches, including one about a clueless fire safety expert, relied heavily on an initially funny idea to sustain themselves over a long stretch. Most of the situational comedy was also guilty of this and made us laugh through commitment to the sketch rather than anything else.

A scene with Vladimir Putin counting Malaysian planes provided a moment that was close to the bone but still very funny. The sketches were at their best when sharp and pithy, delivering a solid punchline. Luckily something of the hectic rush of medical students’ lives did make it into the show, especially during one scene about tree surgery where a sapling was admitted to hospital to a smattering of puns.

The decision to finish on one of the weaker musical numbers was slightly ill-advised but otherwise this was an entertaining afternoon of intelligent humour from some multi-faceted medics.

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Emily Brearley-Bayliss

at 18:33 on 21st Aug 2014

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Jeremy Hunt and Other Spelling Mistakes, which is written and performed by St George’s Medics’ Revue, was occasionally funny. It was performed in the Wee Red Bar, and it is safe to say that the afternoon was not wholly unenjoyable. The show started with a musical parody of a medical exam, in which all of the students finish in the full knowledge that they forgot something vital. It was a solid opening, but everything about it could be made a lot tighter, louder and more together, to properly capture the attention of the audience.

Some of the writing was quite witty, but most of it centred around predictable jokes about the state of the NHS and doctors who cannot do their jobs properly. What could have been an incredibly funny sketch, wherein doctors torment a newbie by using cockney rhyming slang (Jeremy Hunt? Rhymes with…?) did not work overly well because of a slightly confused, quiet and shaky delivery by the performers. Some of the sketches suffered when the cast tripped over their words and weren’t clear enough, but some of them did elicit genuine laughter from the audience.

The fact that a lot of the comedy relied on medicine student in-jokes made it a lot less funny for your average bystander, but no doubt hilarious to other medics. Most of the cast gave good performances, and shone in certain sketches. One scene, in which David Palethorpe read out the lyrics of the Ting Tings’ song That’s Not My Name, was the funniest by far, and is testament to the fact that a simple premise, a short sketch and a competent, confident delivery is the recipe for a successful comedy sketch show.

While many of the cast would benefit from simply lifting themselves, speaking more loudly and being more invested in their performances, they did a reasonable job for an amateur sketch comedy group. There were some genuinely amusing moments (although a lot of them happened when things went unintentionally wrong) and with some more practice and fewer jokes that only medical students find funny, their show could be really good.

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