The main decorative highlight was the imaginative multi-coloured lighting of the main building in the second courtChrist's May Ball

Two years ago, Varsity summed up Christ’s May Ball with a glowing three word review: “close to perfection”. Clearly, the committee this year had a lot to live up to; but with standout headline acts, such as The Hoosiers and Gentlemen's Dub Club on the cards, the ball certainly looked set to rival the last.

Before arriving, I was sceptical of the ball's theme - the off-piste, slightly weird choice of 'Biophilia'.  According to Google, the term relates to “an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems”. Armed with this practical definition of the term, I was curious as to what the committee would make out of it.

Upon entry we were greeted with champagne and live musical entertainment, but nothing which immediately jumped out to say Biophilia as such. Keen to see where the theme would manifest itself, I headed to the cocktail stand – one of the ball’s show stopping features. However, the queue was ludicrously long, so I opted instead for champagne and gin and tonics. Disappointingly, by 2am – when queues had shortened significantly – the cocktail stands were out of mixers and were only able to serve us shots. 

In the second court, the decorations were extraordinary, with fairy lights and coloured lights adorning the bushes and trees. The main decor highlight were the multi-coloured lights projected onto the main building in the second court. In it, I finally glimpsed a sign of 'Biophilia' with moving images of animals and human figurines dancing on the walls in LED. There was a typical assortment of May Ball marquees, which were much needed when half way through the evening the sky erupted with a sudden downpour. Though the marquee decorations inside were limited and sparse, the main hall looked picture perfect, with the addition of ballroom dancing to match its grand prestige.

Changing images of animals and human figurines danced in brightly coloured lightChrist's May Ball

One of the more unusual features of the ball was a strange giant hand and face appearing from the ground – yet the ‘May Ball giant’ was hardly a BFG. In, fact the creature looked eerily out of place among the softer, prettier decorations and fairy lights. It left me even more confused as to whether this giant was intentionally part of the larger ‘Biophilia’ theme or just a mismatched magical creature.

The Christ’s committee's difficulties with carrying out such a complex theme was evident. The only contact I formed with ‘other living systems’ was an awkward encounter with a fake human fawn, and a dance with a drunken post grad in the silent disco (both stretching the definition of ‘living systems’).

Despite these hiccups, the Ball did have some resoundingly fantastic elements such as the always-fun dodgems, wine tasting and a superb musical lineup to accompany the headlining Hoosiers.

It goes to show that theme isn't everything when making a May Ball. Certainly the acts played a big part in making my experience of the Ball so enjoyable – and the silent disco in the main hall was one of the best I have attended in a long time. On the whole, the general entertainment and musical acts were on top form, and I left the ball on a musical high. By 4am, tiredness, adrenalin and alcohol had eroded any criticism I had of the Ball's theme; all that was important was that I was having a good time.

The silent disco in the main hall was one of the best I have attended in a long timeChrist's May Ball

At the main food tent, found after some difficulties caused by a lack of signs, I was surprised by the variety of food available – from sausages and ramen, to Caribbean cuisine. Frustratingly, much of the food on offer seemed to be unsuitable for people with dietary requirements with no vegetarian options or 'free from' alternatives available.

On the sweet front all the stops were put out; from ice cream and delightful chocolate sorbet to mouth-watering churros, an extraordinary chocolate fountain and a selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic milkshakes. While these sweet offerings were readily available, the quality was mixed. Pick ‘n’ mix was limited to just five varieties of sweets, and the alcoholic milkshakes were very weak. The option of a savoury dessert – wine and cheese – was totally gone by the time I had arrived.

Chris’s May ball generally had the ‘fun factor’, but somewhat lacked direction, scope and imagination when it came to theme. Though far from the “perfection” of its predecessor, by the morning I was walking back to my room, humming 'Goodbye Mr A' and reflecting on what was a feel good, fun packed night of May Ball fusion.

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