Review by Danny Gaisin
Last fall, while breakfasting at the Maple Leaf, we learned from a trio of MacMed undergrads that they were considering staging a parody musical fund-raiser. Last night, Mac IS THE NEW ORANGE was the result and the operation was a success! The audience at Westdale was SRO; although considering my seatmates; this was certainly a ‘preaching to the choir’ situation. Should anyone have cried out ‘Is there a doctor in the house?’ chaos would have resulted!
The concept presented short vignettes representing the numerous and varied steps from application to medical school to that ultimate graduation and M.D. designation. The snippets were linked by seven characters recalling those plateaus and then posturing bemusedly by staring into space…the image was totally hilarious. Each segment was introduced by an off-stage announcement. The audience response as each subject was divulged demonstrated a hall-wide grasp of the stresses and anxieties each Med School candidate had personally endured. Fortunately, the program listed over 1½ dozen abbreviations; otherwise, this scribe would have certainly missed numerous contexts.
Two numbers were notable; the “tutorial on diabetes (is a dumb disease)” number received extended applause; as did the Gilbert & Sullivan parody about CaRMS [selection of residency & specialty). During the ‘Miracle of Life’ bit, the after-birth shtick was performed to the old ‘Benny Hill’ British comedy theme. Kept wondering how many audience members could even make the connection considering it stopped airing 22 years ago. Puns were epidemic both in the lyrics and even carried over into the character names, i.e. gynecologist Dr. V. Gina. They did miss out by not having ‘Donald Key’ choose veterinary medicine!
Then entire cast gave full measure and showed obvious performing enthusiasm. There were three standouts… Jocelyn Ma’s “Tyra Banks” parody kept being almost drowned out by laughter; Andrew Pine’s characterizations; and especially Austin MacDonald’s portrayal. All three should consider community-theatre work – post-graduation. Tell them ‘Danny sent you”
There were some glitches and could have benefitted from dramaturgical expertise. Spotting and directorial blocking needed work. Furthermore, either the overhead projector screen or a musical interlude would have helped the between-scenes momentum lapses. But, overall Mac/Orange passed its CASPer; MMI; and Kerley B tests! In the name of med-science…any of these kids have my permission to audit my upcoming colonoscopy!
BTW, McMaster’s Medical Faculty is a rarity – a year-round 3-year elective program; so these young people are the Class of 2016