Robinson College's theme of 'The Night Circus' was successful in creating a magical and exciting atmosphereRobinson College May Ball Committee

As anyone who has ever seen the red brick walls of Robinson will tell you, turning the college into a beautiful May Ball setting would seem to be an insurmountable task for any committee. The highest achievement, then, for one of the cheapest balls in May Week, was to transform what in the daytime resembles an abandoned car park into this year’s theme of ‘The Night Circus’.

Though the good weather undoubtedly benefitted the mostly garden-based ball, the indoors of Robinson were still very much appreciated.

Despite the presence of an incredibly horrifying giant clown head decoration, the grounds of Robinson were beautifully decorated, lit up by an array of starry lights and fibre-optic filled trees. Though the good weather undoubtedly benefitted the mostly garden-based ball, the indoors of Robinson were still very much appreciated. Though the idea of putting a ‘Sweeper’ in the Main Hall - based off of the Total Wipeout challenge involving a giant leaver swinging faster and faster at the legs of contestants - may not have seemed like the most safe of ideas considering the copious amounts of alcohol offered at the ball, the circus-themed rides were a fantastic addition.

Impressively, the relatively small space of the Robinson gardens and narrow courts contained a multitude of consistently good music and entertainment. The ska band Chainska Brassika were a triumphant introduction to the ball, with thumping tunes and horns hyping up the crowds from early on in the evening. The jazz tent, as well as offering a welcome break from high heels in the form of gin and tonics and seating, also had a constant stream of good music. Though the comedy stage and silent disco were tucked away into the corner of the ball in the far reachers of Robinson, they too were a great alternative to the outside as the night grew colder.

Admittedly, having helped out with shuffling boxes and props in the lead up to the big day, I did not have to enter the always draining entry queue. Entry, however, seemed slickly organised, and was seemingly made more bearable by the presence of Fudge Kitchen snacks being offered to revellers. Queues within the ball themselves were quick-moving, greatly adding to the enjoyment, though the presence of the annual red carpet on a red brick floor to queue on inside the college was perhaps a little too much red even for a Circus theme.

Food, as always, was of vital importance to the enjoyment of the ball, and Robinson did not disappoint, though how falafel quite fits with the Circus theme is yet to be explained. Trying a barbecue pulled pork burger within the first ten minutes of the ball certainly set a wonderful tone for the rest of the evening, as did the presence of a stall dedicated entirely to cheese covered snacks, including what was probably Cambridge’s best ever cheese toastie. A welcome nostalgic stickiness in line with the Circus theme was offered in candy-floss and ice cream stands near the entrance, and nearing the end of the night, a 3am survivors breakfast, including blueberry muffins, was a solid addition to the constant availability of food throughout the night.

Having never attended another May Ball, Robinson was a welcome introduction to the first night of May Week. That so many of us lasted until the 5.30am survivors photo was a testament to just how good the night was, and the variety of entertainment, the set up, and the constant stream of food and drink all stand for Robinson Ball being one of the best value-for-money balls in Cambridge

This review of Robinson May Ball was written before the writer was aware of the controversy surrounding the Beyoncé tribute act 

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