Med Revue: Into the Wards

If Into The Wards has one underlying message, it seems to be that studying at Med School is akin to being forced down the rabbit hole, into an extraordinary yet confusing world of OSCE’s[1], LFT’s[2] and rectal examinations. Set in the land of Far, Far Away, this year’s Med Revue follows Wayne (Hayden Aitken), a third year medical student at ANU, as he searches for a cure to the rampant Sleep-Like-Death disease in exchange for the ideal elective placement.

Caught between the warring rivals Beneficent (Aicee Calma) and Maleficent (Nicole Casalis) – a Med School take on Glinda and Elphaba – Wayne must cure crabs, conduct pap-smears and even save a failing Diabetes clinic in his efforts to put an end to the Sleep-Like Death and restore Maleficent to her place as a med student at the Far, Far Away University.

While the storyline is funny and constantly exciting as it moves through a variety of mythical locations (Dr. Acula’s hospital, a sexual health clinic frequented by the Spice Girls, and the Mad Hatter’s Psych Ward), it is the musical numbers that are the highlight of the Revue. Rewriting pop songs as medical ballads leads to Sleeping Beauty singing “Beware those crabs” (All that Jazz), and Hansel and Gretel complaining, “Diabetes, sugar overload. My my, how can I resist you?” (Mamma Mia).

To vivify the set changes, skits and songs thick with med student humour are played from a screen at the back of the stage. The funniest would have to be the Canberran remake of Alicia Keys’ New York: “Public artwork made out of landfill, there’s nothing we can’t do… Oh no it’s not Sydney, let’s hear it for Canberra.”

Even more uplifting than the finale, Uptown Funk, in which the students dance to their futures as Doctors when “us fresh docs gon’ give it to ya”, is the exceptional fundraising that the Revue has enabled. Overall, Into the Wards raised $9,000 for Companion House. In helping an organisation dedicated to assisting refugees affected by trauma and torture, Med Revue brings a whole new meaning to their Uptown Funk promise, “Saturday night and we’ll save some lives, don’t believe me just watch.”



[1] Defined in the program’s glossary as the Objective Structured Clinical Examination designed to test performance and competence in clinical skills

[2] Liver Function Tests

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