Hospital Revue 2018 opens tonight

Song, dance, and sketch comedy are just what the doctor ordered, as audiences will find out this week.

The Armidale Hospital and Community Health Social Club, together with the Armidale Community, will present the 2018 Revue: Armidale’s Got Talent at the Town Hall on Friday and Saturday.

“Laughter is the best medicine,” director Pam Menzies said. “It will be hysterical.”

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This year’s Revue features classic British and American sketches adapted for an Armidale audience, performed by hospital staff, hairdressers, caretakers, and other familiar faces.

“The audience will laugh at the jokes very much,” Pam said; “it’s easy to follow, and they’re all very funny and unusual. The older generations will remember bits of the sketches, and there are people that the audience would know onstage.”

The production is a true team effort. The Armidale Regional Council funded the show to the tune of $1000, and the Armidale Hospital’s social club and community members have been working for two months to make this a show to remember.

“All these people make it happen,” Pam said. “I couldn’t do it without them!”

Pam and her team have been bringing revues and pantomimes to Armidale for about a decade now, starting with a Peter Pan that put former independent MP Richard Torbay onstage as the boy from Neverland, with police as fairy queens, councillors as Lost Boys, doctors as pirates, and UNE academics as Indians.

The success of that show was followed by the likes of Alice Lost in the Tablelands, A-lad-in-the-Tablelands, and Robin Hood – Lost in Tights.

Since that first production, Pam has put everyone from four years old to 90 on stage. Aged care patients, for instance, appeared as the Siamese monarch’s harem in The King and I  – much to the delight of their grandchildren.

The profits from these shows go to a good cause. Last year’s Santa Comes to Armidale raised $5000 for the hospital auxiliary group to buy new equipment. Other shows have funded a children’s ward, or paid for bladder scanners and skin grafters.

“It's always hard work, but I love it,” Pam said; “I love it because I love being creative. I think I'll die if I'm not creative - I've got to make things!”

Next year, Pam is hoping to open the Revue to the public, so community members can perform sketches of 5 minutes.

“I’ll give everybody a chance to come on stage, so long as they don’t do trapeze or gymnastics at the Town Hall!”

The 2018 Revue: Armidale’s Got Talent – Opening Night: Friday May 18, at 8pm; Galah Night: Saturday May 19, at 8pm. 5 round tables, 15 rectangular tables, each for 8 people, $20 per person. Matinee Saturday May 19, 3pm: $10 per person, $5 concession; not recommended for children under 12 years. All performances at the Armidale Town Hall. Bookings available from St George Bank in the Mall.