As I attend a university that attracts some of Australia’s most gifted young students, I expected to be amazed by the best performers each college had to offer at this year’s Inter-hall Talent Show. I wasn’t disappointed. At different points in the evening, I was variously awestruck, full of laughter, emotionally moved and even sometimes all together speechless with admiration.
The night kicked off with the ‘go-to’ song for opera singers at talent shows, Time to Say Goodbye. Singing without a microphone, Saki Sakuma, from Fenner, nailed note after note at the top of her range. The only thing missing from the performance was John C. Reilly playing on the empty drum-kit behind her. Next, a swinging quartet from Bruce performed a ‘fancy’ rendition of the popular Iggy Azalea tune. I couldn’t believe how well they transformed such a simple chord progression into something that really grooved. The following act was completely remarkable. Taking song requests from the judges, including, at one stage, Advance Australia Fair, was Nahed Elraves from John’s. His ability to play Coldplay’s Yellow as though it were composed in 1780 could have brought home the gold on any other day. Maybe the judges didn’t like the fact that this young virtuoso had never heard of Irving Berlin’s classic White Christmas. However, it wasn’t long until the plastic cups came out, and just like the cast of Pitch Perfect, the girls from Griffin brought their A game. Destiny’s Child would have had to go to day-care after hearing these three. They sung beautiful harmonies as a well-blended vocal ensemble and were one of the highlights of the night.
The remainder of the musical acts were instrumentals, all of which were very technically proficient. Both Uni Lodge and B&G entered brilliant guitarists, who played their instruments from every angle and in every way imaginable. However, in the end the winners of the musical section were the almost-hypnotic flautist from Ursies, Alison Mountain, and the mesmerising cellist from Burgmann, Millie Noble. Never before have I heard a flute make a sound akin to that of a tiny bird flying by a choo-choo train. Similarly the Burgmann entrant, who seemed to be getting her money’s worth out of her instrument, also displayed masterful musicianship.
Soon after, the non-musical performances took to the stage, starting with a poetry reading from Burgmann’s very own Happy Human. Accompanied by a giant cat (Ajay Proudfoot in a cat costume), the provocative poet explored many themes including love, cats and (believe it or not) cunnilingus.
The envelope was pushed even further later on as Bruce treated the crowd to a performance of the burlesque kind. Carried out in a very respectable fashion, both the performer and crowd alike showed that true art can be found in its most uncommon forms. The most controversial performance of the night, however, was the Fenner Boys Choir, who performed a college-themed appropriation of the song I Still Call Australia Home made famous by the well-known Qantas commercial. Whilst I question whether this was a non-musical performance, I will admit that the lyrics were hilarious, with the blatant shots at John’s being well received by the crowd.
In a more serious vein, three colleges entered breathtaking acting performances. Matt Barton, from Ursies, played a tragic character from Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker. The performance was both haunting and incredibly moving and had me looking up the play as soon as I got home. Nikita Waldron, from John’s, was another showstopper, pulling off a perfect Italian-American accent throughout a self-written monologue as Henry Hill’s wife from Goodfellas. From Uni Lodge came Duncan Koenig. The audience bore witness to a personification of anxiety and felt the intensity of its wrath. The performance delivered a clear message about the seriousness of mental illness and anyone seeking help should call 1300 224 636 or visitwww.beyondblue.org.au/.
The dancers in particular put on great creative displays, and even without any technical knowledge of dancing, I was still able to enjoy what Griffin and B&G put together for the night. While Elmie Janse van Rensburg and Cornell D. Hanxomphou from Griffin danced together as if they shared a brain, first place went to the powerful display put on by Ben Purser, whose prowess enchanted the entire audience.
The wide variety of entertaining performances ensured that this was one of the year’s best inter-college events. I congratulate all the performers, and thank Griffin Hall for organising the night and Josh Griffiths for hosting.