Surgeons Swap Gowns for Costumes

Retired Garda Chief Supt Mick McGarry, Chris Frisby, building contractor, Declan Dowling, pharmacist, Gerry McCoy, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Iain Munro.

Retired Garda Chief Supt Mick McGarry, Chris Frisby, building contractor, Declan Dowling, pharmacist, Gerry McCoy, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Iain Munro.

A retired Garda Chief Superintendent; pharmacist; restaurateur; consultant vascular surgeon; consultant anaesthetist; consultant haematologist; consultant ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon; accident and emergency (A&E) consultant; consultant respiratory physician; consultant enterologist and two consultant orthopaedic surgeons along with a wide range of other staff from the recently re-designated University Hospital Waterford (UHW) take to the stage at the city’s Theatre Royal on 13th and 14th June for a comedy play with a difference.

A 30-strong cast from the UHW Theatre Group will stage ‘The Full Irish Monty/The Gathering’, a new play written and directed by Bridie Hodge, a staff midwife at the hospital with musical direction by Ann Cody, occupational health nurse. The production aims to raise funds for a new Cystic Fibrosis (CF) unit in the paediatric department of the hospital and the national cochlear implant department at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

The storyline of the play centres on the arrival in Waterford of Revd Jimmy Jackson, a charismatic American preacher who claims healing powers. As crowds flock to him, the local hospital empties, leading to ward closures and job losses.

The newly-unemployed hospital consultants and their colleagues decide drastic action is needed and an idea blending ‘The Full Irish Monty’ and ‘The Gathering’ in a stage show is born. However, objections by their spouses leave the consultants forced to transfer their show from Waterford to Paris, where a friendly nightclub owner offers them the chance to perform – an opportunity they grasp with hilarious consequences.

Looking ahead to the show, Bridie Hodge said: “We’ve staged a different production each year since we formed in 2010 and there’s always been great support from the hospital community and the wider public in Waterford who enjoy what we hope are entertaining nights out but also benefit great causes in our hospital.

“The cast’s drawn from right across the UHW team with some added outside support as well as great dancers from the Waterford Ballet Academy. I won’t give away too much about the plot but it’s hard not to laugh when you see local pharmacist Declan Dowling play the part of a red Indian chief for the song ‘YMCA’ or Prof Simon Cross, consultant vascular/general surgeon, as Rev. Jimmy Jackson and that’s not to mention retired Chief Supt Mick McGarry who gets to be a consultant orthopaedic surgeon on ‘The Full Irish Monty’ team – something I’m sure his former An Garda Síochána colleagues will be queuing to see!

“It’s probably safe to say none of us will be giving up the day jobs for a life on Broadway just yet but we have great fun putting on the plays and hopefully that will come across to our audiences in Waterford next week.”

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