Culture Theatre

Shakespeare Society’s Masquerade Ball

At the heart of many good nights out is drinking and dancing, but the trick is to look stylish while doing so. There is a delicate balance between external refinement and internal intoxication, and the patrons of the Shakespeare Society’s Masquerade Ball pulled it off marvellously!

With five hundred tickets sold, the Caves on Cowgate’s Niddy Street was crammed with people in their finery. The theme: ‘Mafia Masquerade’ with New York Gangsters partying till 3:00 am to promote the society’s upcoming production of Julius Caesar. Set at the peak of the Five Families’ power over New York, Caesar will be running from the 1st till the 4th of March, and if it contains the same style and enthusiasm as the Masquerade Ball, it will not be one to miss.

Although the idea of five hundred, slightly sweaty people in their 50s attire cramped together in the bowels of a place called the ‘Caves’ might induce apprehension, you did not want to miss this evening. The guests, hidden behind beautiful masks, contrasted against the rough stone walls giving the night a mysterious and magical atmosphere. The bands Violent Monstera and Grace and the Flat Boys played excellent live music, contributing to “a very good night of dancing” according to one guest, “something I haven’t done in a long while”. The smooth jazz was especially popular, fitting with the 1950s theme.

Drink, although hard to acquire due to long queues, was flowing very nicely; and in the bouncer’s view, too much flowing my way. Clearly mistaking my enthusiasm for the evening, I was politely told to step outside for a breather. However, this was not bad at all, as the ball was a hothouse for theatre lovers, and the conversation in the smoking area, between cigarette puffs, was filled with excitement over upcoming productions (Measure of Man, Caesar), recent castings and ongoing rehearsals. However, on trying to re-enter, we were firmly turned around and pointed in the direction of the street. It was a real shame that we missed the last few minutes of the Ball, which by this point had risen to full swing with its glittering masks, laughing guests and incredible music joining together to make an unforgettable night.

People said that “it had it all! The glamour, the jazz, the costumes […] the ambience was incredible; it was as if we really had been transported back to the 1950s”, “the bands were really talented. Just an overall good time!”, “Incredible! Loved it”, and “the most frivolity a Thursday night has ever seen”.

The Shakespeare Society’s evening was a complete success and showed incredible promise for Caesar in March. It is no wonder that the annual Masquerade Ball is always in very high demand. Be quick next year to grab your tickets before they are all sold out.

Image taken and provided by Freddie Clemo