REVIEW: ‘Davis Hall Follies’ inspires, enthralls and entertains

This story is published on The Huntingtonian.

Break dance and rock bands and raspberries – oh my! In perhaps the university’s greatest spectacle this year, the annual “Davis Hall Follies” brought the house down with its series of unbelievable talent, sidesplitting humor and spectacular hosts.

Alumnae Liz Adams and Katie Hubbard – names many might recognize – may very well be the best hosts to date. (I’ve only ever witnessed three follies, but I stand by my opinion). Without a teleprompter, this dynamic duo entertained and drove the show forward with skits like “Whose Line Is It Anyways?” free styling jokes and randomly picked Dr. Ruthi quotes. Kinky! Even when sound tech goofed up, they rolled with the punches and made the experience fantastic.

And I mean, come on – they took a selfie with the audience! No bias in the fact I made it into the shot.

Although the hosts did a remarkable job at hyping the crowd, the top three wins justly made the night a night to remember. Coming in at third place, seniors Sydney Frandsen and Morgan Tracey enchanted the audience with their parody cover of Pixar’s “Frozen” hit song, “Love is an Open Door.” In their hilarious short music video, two strangers decided to room together and eventually become best friends. From lines like “I guess I’ll room with you,” to “I mean it’s crazy, we finish each other’s – Beyoncé references,” the audience felt the love and couldn’t help but relate and laugh along.

In second place, sophomore Austin Presnell’s original spoken word piece about finding identity in Christ won over the hearts of many. Stylistically – from his variation in pacing and momentum building to every strategically placed moment of silence – his approach was absolutely sound.

As a communication studies major, I have learned that poetry as a platform for communication is an art. There is power in spoken words. Some of the world’s renowned leaders have evoked positive change throughout history simply because of the enthusiasm and poetic elements behind their speech. Similarly, Presnell’s passion and authentic delivery resonated with the audience. Because he eloquently spoke on a topic many shy away from, the audience was left captivated and inspired. His placing within the competition is well-deserved.

Eric Baker and Christiana Hicks, however, won the entire competition by a landslide with their piano cover of “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals. Baker, recognized for his wild enthusiasm on the keyboard during chapel praise and worship, showed the grand baby piano no mercy. In a compulsive fit of overwhelming emotion, Baker jumped to his feet – his locks of hair flying and defying physics – and kicked his seat out from beneath him, losing himself to the music.

Likewise, Hicks’ powerful lungs coupled with gorgeous vocals complemented the dynamics of the singing ivories. Her elegant dominance on the stage floor paired with a potent voice showcased aptitude and personality, making her an instant crowd-pleaser. Her talent, however, would best be suited with a record deal. Any takers?

Together, their intoxicating stage presence and extraordinary chemistry was sensational. Of course, anything good is worth watching twice, and the duo’s encore performance was – what I thought would be impossible – even better than their winning performance.

This year’s “Davis Hall Follies” wasn’t only an event. It was an experience. Even non-placers like freshman Austin House’s break dance, sophomore YeJi Park and Junoh Kim’s piano cover of “Bless the Broken Road” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and – dare I say it – junior Niles Berry’s “raspberries” shocked me with their incredible talent.

Truly, this campus is occupied with much hidden talent. This year, the follies exposed some of the greatest.

Christian Herrera is a junior journalism and communication studies double major. He can be reached at herrerac@huntington.edu. This review reflects the view of the writer only.

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