TABATHA LEGGETT enjoys Hughes Hall May Ball, but is disappointed by the lack of a big ent.

Around the World in 80 Days

18th June 2011, £84 Single, £159 Pair (£79.50 each)

Last night opened my eyes to the world of graduate and mature students. And, I was pleasantly surprised. Hughes Hall was a well-organized, unpretentious, elegant affair. It wasn’t the most sophisticated ball on offer this week, and neither was it the most hangover inducingly fun. But, it provided a good middle ground, and certainly made for an enjoyable evening.

But, without meaning to sound too much like a bizarre Simon Cowell/Prince Charles lovechild; it lacked The X Factor, whatever that may be.

Around the World in 80 Days was an excellent choice of theme, complementing the Victorian-inspired architecture of Hughes Hall perfectly. Although the theme was a little confused in places (I never figured out why The Moulin Rouge was decorated solely with Chinese lanterns), on the whole – it worked. The sandy beach outside was a particularly charming feature, whilst the Continental café was quaint and consistently stocked with delicious food and drink.

Hughes Hall, of course, didn’t sell out. But, this was actually a really good thing. That’s right: a slightly quieter ball means no queuing, and no running out of alcohol. Fancy a falafel wrap? March right up to the front of the counter. An extra-potent cocktail? Not a problem, there’s alcohol to spare. A seat for the Footlights show? Take your pick.

Grad balls famously spend a lot of their budget on travelling ents, and Hughes Hall was no exception to the norm. Highlights included: a Lion Dance Troupe, a woman with a python, and a truly excellent caricaturist. And that’s not to mention the permanent ents. There were swing boats, a bucking bronco, and a bouncy castle for the more silly among us, whilst the rest of us enjoyed music ranging from: Irish folk, to swing, to choral groups, and even Bollywood. Everyone’s personal taste was catered for, and everyone genuinely had fun.

The problem arose at 3am, when everyone has tried everything on offer, and realised that there had been no spectacular event. We consulted our programmes. Turns out, the big ent was supposed to be a hot air balloon, which would have been amazing, but the weather didn’t allow for it. Not the committee’s fault, but a disappointment nonetheless.

And, sadly, a May Ball without a spectacular ent is all-too-easily forgotten. This, I fear, is the fate that Hughes Hall will suffer. We’ll all remember the silent disco, and the casino tomorrow when we tell our friends about our evening. But, in a year, no one will remember Hughes Hall’s 2011 May Ball as being anything particularly special, which is a real shame considering what an enjoyable evening it actually was.

Food and drink:


Wow factor:

Value for money:

Star Attraction: The Footlights’ show.

Biggest Turn Off: Lack of a spectacular act. And the caricaturist made me look like an alien.

  • Bemused of Queens&#0

    Generous.

  • Logic

    "a truly excellent caricaturist"

    "the caricaturist made me look like an alien"

    So essentially what you're saying is you do look like an alien…?

  • whoever

    I agree with everything but the food comment. Honestly, these noodles and burgers were just vile!