This is my favourite musical ever! It is such a spectacle that has everything I want from a show- catchy songs, inventive staging and exciting choreography. This is a review of the current touring production
The title tells you everything you need to know about the content of the show- it is all about Cats. One of the biggest complaints I hear is about the lack of a storyline but I would disagree, there is a definite story. It follows a group of cats who come together once a year to decide which of them will go to the “Heaviside Layer” to start a new life. The cast then go on to introduce all the nominees for this honour. Although there isn’t the strongest narrative there is still a definite beginning, middle and end.
The songs are all based upon T.S.Elliot’s poems from the “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”. These are well written and when added to some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best work (except maybe Evita) it makes for a great foundation for a show.
There are no big names in this current tour but the cast are fantastic. Of course everyone wants to see Grizabella sing “Memory” which Marianne Benedict absolutely nails. It is the rest of the characters I look forward to watching though. They all bring their own little nuances to their parts, even when performing the fast paced choreography, which lets the audience really get a feel for all their separate personalities. This ranges from the elegance of Victoria- the white cat, to the leadership and protection of Munkustrap; from the sexiness of Bombalurina, to the mischievousness of Mungojerrie and Rumpletezer. On top of this the vocal abilities, athleticism and stamina of all is just so impressive.
There are a couple of things I am not so keen on in this current version and that is where they have changed the music. Although the change in “Growltiger’s Last Stand” is not so significant, the new rap in “The Rum Tum Tugger” seems quite jarring against the 80s synth feel of the rest of the show.
The set/ staging and direction is always good fun with the junkyard full of clever props for the cats to use in their story telling. The only issue with the set is that the view of the very front row is slightly restricted so I would avoid those seat especially in theatres with a low audience. The lighting is very clever incorporating the whole auditorium which really enhances the whole piece.
This sung-through, danced-through musical is wonderful and I loved every minute, even after the 5th time seeing it in one week. I would always recommend it to anyone young or old looking for a classic, enjoyable evening out.
Have you seen Cats? What did you think of it? Do you like the updated versions of the songs or do you prefer the originals?