Review: Peterhouse May Ball

Image credit: Juliette Bretan

The Peterhouse May Ball held last Friday lived up to its sparkling reputation as one of the classier May Week events; with the fulfilled promise of pleasure for each guest and a diligent attention to detail that resulted in a heavenly spectacle within each court of the college. Yet, though the decorations were impeccable in their extravagance, and the entertainment certainly matched those of other colleges hosting more prominent stars, the Ball did trip up at a couple of hurdles, the most notable of which being food – or lack of it. For an event lasting nine hours, this was a significant disappointment to Ball-goers who were in need of some delicacy to tide them over; the hour-long queues for small plates of mussels, the burnt slices of pizza, and the premature closing of one central food stall meant sustenance was not provided as freely as the general lavish atmosphere - a state of affairs that detracted from the general paradisiacal experience.

Nonetheless, the Ball was undeniably an enjoyable night. Food could be found if one was prepared to wait, an activity that would not be out of place at any May Week event, and what the Ball failed at with regards to this feature it certainly tried to make up for as the event went on. The selection of drinks and bars on offer was outstanding, and the assortment of activities to take part in ranged from caricatures to a silent disco, to a casino, leaving guests impressed with the seemingly endless ways to spend their evening. As the night descended, the music was amplified; suddenly everyone assembled at the feet of a flawless Queen tribute band to hear a vast repertoire of songs and, eventually, watch the dawn break to the timeless sounds of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Screaming “thunderbolt and lightening, very very frightening me” in white-tie within the grounds of Cambridge’s oldest college was a life-experience guests would never forget.

Even though the food situation was a blight on the Ball, Peterhouse did excel in most areas; even the event guides were created with the guests’ interests at heart, leaving the stumbling revellers who exited the college at 6 o’clock the following morning ecstatic with delight. Though perfection may not have been achieved for the whole event, Peterhouse proved that its 125 years of hosting such an event had not gone to waste - barring the food, each aspect was immaculate. And, in any case, it is not food that one remembers of a good night; it is the feel of the event, the experiences had, and the emotions one experiences at it. In these areas, Peterhouse May Ball can only be classed as a luxurious archetype.

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