Some things about 42nd Street, New York, have stayed much the same as they were in 1933. The Chrysler Building, with its distinctive glittering spire of chrome, still looms over the area just as it has done since its construction (at a rate of four storeys a week!) in 1930; one block is still made up predominantly of theatres; it remains as bustlingly busy as it was back in 1933.
It was to the Big Apple, and to 1933, to which the imaginations of the students in Balliol were transported last night as they visited London to watch the musical 42nd Street. Before the performance, though, they were thrilled to realise that they had three hours of free time in which to explore the great metropolis of England’s own: London, with its vast array of all experiences. Some students chose a cultured afternoon in the National Gallery or the Museum District; others were delighted to find, in the Covent Garden Market, an airy courtyard filled with cafes, and with the added excitement of a trio of merrily playing violinists. The chance to go shopping was also eagerly taken, with the skating and apparel brand ‘Supreme’ proving especially popular.
Meeting at the theatre at 7:30, everybody was excited for the show. Filing into the muted light of the theatre, there was a buzz of anticipation in the air; and as the lamps dimmed, the audience settled down comfortably for what was sure to be a night of fantastic entertainment. The high expectations were fully justified. As students observed afterwards, it was a very visually appealing experience: there were brilliant tap-dancers with long, complicated sequences, some very catchy songs, and lots of comic moments. On the bus back to Balliol, those who weren’t asleep mulled over the production happily, agreeing that it had been a wonderful evening.