Trinity Hall June Event - Review
Trinity Hall's 'Four Elements' theme impresses, but doesn't quite strike the perfect May Ball balance
by Charlotte Wu, Laurie Tuffrey
Monday 9th July 2012, 17:45 BST
It was a rather savvy move on the part of Trinity Hall’s June Event organisers to greet guests by scorching their tastebuds with some of The Fudge Kitchen’s chilli fudge. Not only did it disguise the slightly floppy flavour of the bacon cheeseburgers on offer at the food stalls, but it brought home the ‘Fire’ element of the event’s ‘Four Elements’ theme in spectacularly tongue-ravaging manner.
There were, to be fair, some rather tasty mojitos to cool those burning mouths, and you could stand and sip on Latham Lawn, glowing a fiery red tonight, and enjoy the intermittent blasts of orange spat out by the flamethrowers. Beside a clutch of fairground attractions, percussionists Junk hammered on upended plastic boxes, which made for a surprisingly convincing, and suitably elemental, substitute for tribal drums.
By the time we’d done a round of the food stalls - taking in the burgers, falafel and brilliantly sweettooth-sating chocolate-covered bananas - and made an impressively poor show on the test-your-strength machine, members of the Brass Funkies started threading through the crowds, clutching trumpets and trombones, before winding back to the stage and starting up with some cheeky brass covers, including the now-classic euphonium version of ‘Sexual Healing’.
Up in Cherry Tree Court, the ‘Water’ area, an ice luge flowed with shots of Baileys and Absolut Raspberry under a rather lovely pale wash of blue. Inside, the lecture theatre was tonight’s comedy club: first up were the Footlights, with compere Pierre Novellie running a nice skit on Trinity’s fireworks mishap the night before. Following up were George Potts and Theodore Chester, who - in spite of mic-less sound problems - delivered a few corkers of sketches, best of which was an affronted Yorkshireman’s trip to a cafe (“FRUIT tea?! I want a tea, not a salad!”). Later on, the theatre would host a rock ‘n’ roll dance class and a performance of the Footlights’ Tour Show ‘The Pin’.
Musically, the line-up was none-too-shabby, taking in a fair brace of Cambridge acts and a couple of big names. First of these was King Charles, whose bequiffed brand of gently anthemic pop-rock was pulled off with characteristic panache, building up to an ecstatically-received reworking of Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’, working a fair whack of crowd hand-grabbing rock star-posturing, an impressive light show (hats off to Tit Hall’s techs for the whole night, in fact) and an absolute peach of a guitar solo.
Heading up the bill was dubstep doyen Benga, one third of megagroup Magnetic Man and the knob twiddler behind Katy B’s ‘On A Mission’. In many ways, Benga, performing with MCs Youngman and P Money, was the perfect musical act for a May ball, packing blunt-force bass and frenetic breakbeats that transformed the main stage crowd into a frenzy of pulsating pastel tones, fuelled by Jägerbombs and waitforthedrops. MC Youngman dropped the obligatory Oxford-baiting reference, and, with frantically-moshing crowd in hand, the trio confirmed themselves as the night’s undeniable highlight.
Elsewhere, the Fellows’ Garden was ‘Air’, taking in a silent disco and oxygen bar, which, if toking on vodka vapour is your thing, was a blast if you didn’t mind the queue. The North Court, meanwhile, was ‘Earth’, holding a shisha den and the main bar, packed brimful with gin and tonics, John Smith’s and beach buckets, a plentiful supply that enabled some nicely-inebriated summer sousing.
Four Elements’s premise was no doubt a good call. A thematic four-way split of the college provided some nice variation: feeling energetic? Go to ‘Earth’s silent disco. Feeling tired? Lounge in the ‘Water’ bar. Feeling cold? Stand next to a flamethrower. Feeling inexplicably hot? Go into the ‘Air’ section, where a blast from four electric fans was a nice touch, but less than welcome to anyone already shivering in a ball dress. Finishing at a relatively staid 3am, guests were guaranteed to feel entertained until the end. As far as Wednesday nights go, it was a lot of fun, and reasonably good value at £80 - but when next May Week comes around, we’d put our money on King’s Affair.