The Michaelmas Term’s Illumination was anticipated eagerly with the promise of more variety and more comedy performances following the musical dominance of last year’s shows.
The new team of Will Heard (LI U6), Keya Punja (MO U6), Charlotte Russell (MO U6) and Alice Studdert-Kennedy (NC U6) drew a big audience and everyone was excited about the line-up.
The cup stacking legacy that is Thor Kverndal (C1 U6)kicked-off the show, as has become a bit of a tradition over the last five years. His latest innovation to what is always an impressive display was to introduce a new type of cup – the legendary ‘Norwood Hall Disposable’ – which is well known to all due to its frequent appearances around the College campus. Unfortunately, these didn’t prove compatible with Thor’s nordic paws. Luckily, he had brought some of his favoured red cups as back-up in case of difficulty. Thor set out to break the school record (his own) although it’s unclear whether he was successful. What we do know is that his fastest time on the night was 10.49 seconds which he seemed chuffed with, though he has not spoken publicly regarding his cups since the night.
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This dramatic opening act was followed by New Court solidifying their reputation with a highly revealing aerobics video (thrusts in lycra if memories need jogging). This incorporated starring roles for many of the Common Room – including solid performances from Mr Curry (all the way from OA) and Mr Jackson as well as Monty Barnes (all the way from Elmhurst). The real shout-outs went to Maggie Latif (NC L6) from a particular row of boys usually spotted together. Although there were technical difficulties New Court’s mantra was revealed: ‘we twerk we work’.
The first music act featured Ollie Cutts (LI Hu) and Freddie Elmberg (BH Hu) and their ‘mash-up’ of One Republic’s ‘Apologise’ and ‘Overjoyed’ by Bastille. This was a stirring and impressive performance from the 100s boys. The star of the show may well have been Casper Barker (SU Sh), a Shell pupil from Summerfield, with his acoustic performance of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’. He certainly got the audience on his side and was soon accompanied by a clicks and handclaps. Despite a moth fighting for centre stage, Caspar stood his ground, and won everyone over – especially the girls.
The new wave of variety and comedy arrived with Will Heard (LI U6) and Stuart Newton-Tyer’s (LI U6) Marlburian version of ‘Take me Out’. Will provided the structure as the suave compere; Stuart provided the jokes – most of them made about himself. Kudos to the bunch of brave and of desperate girls who blindly took to the stage – anything for a ruthless businessman. “I like businessmen”, said Jammy Jones. Stuart described himself as suave, sophisticated, and cuddly… and we would have to agree. His finest attributes apparently involve champagne, fine dining and a good relationship with his house master. Bambi and Stuart were revealed as being ‘good friends’, but Sonya’s jacket wiped her out of the running. Good choice by Stuart who got a cheeky kiss.
Oli Grant (MO U6) delivered a powerful vocal unaccompanied version of ‘At Last’ by Etta James – a beautifully smoky rendition. Another Illumination regular Steph Evans (MM L6) produced another striking hula hoop display – there seems to be more hoops involved every time she takes to the stage. The comedy was taken up another notch by a slick and risqué comic sketch led by Kit Edgecumbe-Rendle (PR U6).
The most surprising act of the night was the newly discovered Marlborough boy band either called ‘No Direction’ or ‘Marlborough’s Got Talent?’. This usual musical performance challenged the very concepts of what a boy band could and should be. We’re not sure exactly what tracks they played but we are keen to follow their progress and look forward to more avant-garde performances throughout the year.
The final act of the night saw a return of the Lower Sixth (and Barty Cooke’s (PR Hu)) band that brought the evening to a rocking climax.
Well done to the new team; this was a slick and entertaining evening that delivered the promised variety. We look forward to the next one.
By Lottie Brousse (MO L6) and Rachel Winfield (MO L6)