International Student's Association, Hull University
Middleton Hall, March 2008
The International Students Association this year held their thirteenth annual Culture Night performance in the Middleton Hall, the culmination of a lot of ISA hard work throughout the year. After a weekend of fraught and frantic rehearsals, the show was only a little late in starting. Kicking off the proceedings were the typical ‘important people’ speeches, followed by the introduction of a pair of friendly smiling hosts, Michael Mazurewicz and Ediite Millere, dressed cannily as air hostess and pilot, and hinting faintly of the good old days of Eurovision.
First act to take to the boards were the Afro Caribbean Law Society, with an interesting and brilliantly costumed view of Nigerian marriage ceremony. Next up were the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, with a well received ten minute rendition of their latest production, ‘Iolanthe’. Three piece band ‘The Brave Hearts’ impressed the audience with both covers and original material. The Chinese Society presented a brief tour of their recent variety show, with singers ‘A Capella’ attaining an enthusiastic reception, though the decision to include ‘Buttons’ by the Pussy Cat Dolls was baffling. Tied bronze-medal winners the Asian Society celebrated Bollywood in a colourful and enjoyable music and dance performance.
Opening the second half of the show was the traditional International Fashion show. Next were Gold medal winners The Hellenic Participation, whose finely tuned act consisted of a variety of singing, dancing, traditional Greek music, jumping on and off chairs, and a fantastically talented mandolin player. The Malaysian Student’s Association tied for Bronze medal, their Chinese fan dance was particularly pleasing to watch, and their ‘Teh Tarik’ (tea pouring) made a nice, if oddly bemusing, change from the norm. Easily the most talented performer in the entire show was the solo performer Gema Galan, who fiercely commanded audience attentions with her candle lit and dramatically passionate Spanish Flamenco. Rounding up the bill, Silver medal winners the Arab Society entertained with an odd modern interpretation of Aladdin, which housed an attractive lady in minimal clothes doing a belly dance.
An enjoyable experience to be part of and definitely a good night out, the ISA annual performance continues to promote unique University societies, sharing with the audience the different cultures of their backgrounds, through the medium of song, dance, drama, fan waving, chair hopping, and tea pouring. At its high points it showcased a wealth of talent, but even at its lower points the ISA Culture Night never came short on being, at least, entertaining.