Review: Wolfson May Ball

Wolfson May Ball showed just what a budget ball can do. At £95 for a ticket with bursary discount to £76, it would be unfair to compare it to the likes of Clare (£165 for outsiders) and Johns/Trinity (£200+) nonetheless, this ball certainly held its own against some of them - featuring firm ball favourites, reliably available food and drink as well as a few surprises of its own.

The rather original theme of Wolfson’s first May Ball was Valhalla: the divine dining hall where all Vikings that died in battle were taken to feast eternally with the gods. Though the theme was not that apparent throughout the grounds, the hall itself was beautifully decorated with handmade Viking shields, and small touches - such as the clever naming throughout the ball programme, raven chandeliers and even Norwegian cheese on the cheese boards - kept the theme alive. Even the swing boats felt like Viking long-ships.

These little touches were present throughout the work of the ball committee. A lot of effort had gone into the decoration of the college with some very beautiful fairy light effects in the rooms and outside areas. The ticketing officers had arranged wristband collection beforehand so that the ball queue was very quick and Clinique, the skincare and makeup brand, had been invited to set up a stall (from which they redid my make up at 1am).

The food and drinks choices were wider than at much more expensive balls and well spread, meaning I didn’t queue for anything over the entire night (though there always appears to be a queue for mac and cheese, even this quietened down at points throughout the night). The real winner was having food and drink permanently available to grab in the main hall, where plentiful cheese boards and patisserie trays had been laid out. The delicious Novi cocktails were also a welcome addition. If the mark of a successful ball is for it always to be possible to have two hands full of food and drink, then this ball was a triumph.

The ents officers had also done well to secure a superb main act, Inner Circle, of “Bad Boys” fame, who thoroughly entertained the crowd with old favourites and covers of Ed Sheeran and Bob Marley. This was followed by firm favourite Colonel Spanky’s Love Ensemble, who drew a very large crowd. For those who were feeling more Viking and in need of more martial entertainment, the ball committee had also put on special tests of fighting skill, Champions and an Archery battle game which was excellent fun.

The highlight, however, was the surprise firework and fire display which was described in the programme as ‘Ragnarok’, the Viking end of the world.

Though Wolfson May Ball was somewhat limited in quality, this was obviously due to its smaller budget, resulitng from the considerably lower price tag which was, in many ways, its main attraction. Despite this, no one was in any doubt that the night was excellent value for money. 

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