REVIEW: Queens’ May Ball
WILL HEILPERN is impressed by the “Museum of Curiosity”
Tab May Ball Rating: 4.5 stars
I spent the night of Queens’ Ball in 2013 crammed in a near fatal punt-jam scrambling for a glimpse of Bastille, long before Fearne Cotton ruined them with too many radio plays and live lounges.
Those inside the ball that night almost unanimously regarded it as one of the best balls in recent history. Lingering memories of 2013, combined with the very expensive £155 tickets, meant that the 2015 committee had a great deal to prove.
Fortunately, The Museum of Curiosity was phenomenal, combining real ingenuity and classic decadence in a way that made St John’s only the second best ticket in town on Tuesday. The theme allowed for a night of endless distractions which wowed and amused in equal measure.
There was a huge variety of Ents, ranging from Occulus Rift glasses which simulated a 3-D virtual world to classic dogdems; from a whiskey inhalation system to a 30ft jump into a giant pillow; from a pill which boldly claimed to be able to invert your sense of taste to an ‘augmented reality interactive sandbox’.
The inventiveness of the Queens’ Ents committee was epitomised by the fireworks. Clearly deciding against spending a sum equivalent to the foreign aid budget on making colourful fires in the sky, they used a modest quantity of fireworks, but supplied kaleidoscopic glasses to everyone at the ball, which transformed an average display into an incredible spectacle.
As bizarre and wonderful as the above attractions were, by far the most curious spectacles of the ball were the musicians. B*Witched, the Irish girl group, known for the haunting pop classic C’est La Vie, defied the constraints of time and ageing by transporting the ball back to the late 90s with a perfectly synchronised routine, which for some was a highlight of the ball.
A personal favourite of the night was Bez, the man who built a career out of shaking the maracas for the Happy Mondays, who has since evolved his act into loud shouting, aggressive gesturing and profuse sweating in front of a wedding DJ.
Lucy Rose, the singer-songwriter was also apparently very good, for those who had the dedication to wait around for her to come on 45 minutes after the scheduled time. As one guest remarked, she is not Mariah Carey. Coasts were disappointingly generic, whilst Jaguar Skills and Mowgli made sure guests stayed pumped to the end of the ball.
Arguably the biggest strength of the ball was the food. The Dosa wraps, Chilean Sopaipillas, Confit Duck Brioche Buns, Water ganache truffles and Cannoli were particular highlights, leaving even the most restrained guest at high risk of contracting early onset gout. The drinks at Queens were as expected, but, crucially, plentiful: champagne, beer, various cocktails and shots keep everyone well lubricated throughout.
The Queens’ May Ball committee engaged in the task of creating an unforgettable night with a creative energy and a freshness that has firmly established Queens’ May Ball at the level of John’s and Trinity in terms of desirability. The ball only happens once every two years at Queens, so there is plenty of time to become fair weather friends with someone at the college before 2017.
Food and Drink:
Value for Money:
Star Attraction: The kaleidoscopic firework display.
Biggest Turn-Off: The odour from Bez’s heavy, sweating beer gut.