Review: Illumination 2018

Illumination, the pupil-led event that celebrates talent from across the College, was a memorable MemFest occasion for all involved. With great preparation evident in both presenters and performers, the audience was treated to a night of not only great talent, and sometimes great humour, but we were also reminded about the importance of positive mental health and finding solutions when things are tough.

Bringing a more solemn tone, and harkening back to the original cause for Illumination in 2006 and 2007 – the loss of Old Marburians Tom App Rhys Pryce (B1 1988-93) and Lily Hastings-Bass (MO 2000-2005) – producers and presenters Claudia Vyvyan (MO U6) and Finn Taylor (BH U6) succeeded in striking the chord between the serious and the celebratory. Acts ranged from the hilariously awkward gameshow ‘Family Feud’, in which the Prefect heavy group of eight Upper Sixth twins competed, to watching Annabel Chessher (LI U6) play Tárrega’s Grand Valse (otherwise known as the Nokia ringtone) on classical guitar whilst blindfolded!

We were graced with the adorable, ever-smiling performance of tap dancer Sophie Powell (IH Hu), and a humorous rendition of Disney songs (from his favourite film The Hunchback of Notre Dame) that showed both the extraordinary musical talent and the inner child in Head of Maths, Mr Elton. Camilla Brebbia (NC Re) stole our hearts with a spine-tingling version of Freya Ridings’ ‘Lost Without You’, James Watson’s (SU Re) superb poem, ‘Mother’, winner of the Remove Poetry Festival competition, provided a notable moment of quiet reflection and both Coco Bradley (DA L6) and Emily Pont (DA L6) displayed stunning vocal range and delivery. Particular recognition must go out to ‘diamond in the rough’ Will Farquhar (C3 U6), musical genius Florence Tuckey (EL L6) and future rock star Tom Phelps (B1 Re)! The evening was brought to a raucous close by the impressive Remove band,

Wound into this whirlwind of talented performances could be found the essential message cultivated by Claudia and Finn’s narrative – that mental health should be talked about. Conveying messages such as ‘mental illness is a disease, not a decision’, playing a short film delivered by an OM on her own challenging experiences and providing information about the resources available, it is clear that this Illumination succeeded in not only showcasing the wide variety of talent within the College, but also in communicating a relevant and weighty message for us all.

Violet Elworthy (MO U6)

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