of all, let me start off by admitting this: Im not a cat person.
When it comes to pets, if I had to choose, Id take a dog over
a cat any time. Felines are a dichotomy: they are seen as either being
haughty or independent, lazy or graceful; inscrutable or wise. Dogs
are just dogs. You know where you are with them.
this only because, like the real felines, I found "Cats"
the musical difficult to fathom. Ostensibly, its about a group
of cats that get together one night of year for a party and for
one of them to be picked to go to the equivalent of kitty heaven
to be reborn. Its based on poems by T.S. Elliott, which should
have been a clue about its non-linear nature. As my companion said:
"trying to understand this musical is like trying to understand
much happens in the first half, save a lot of prancing around on
stage and some frankly inane singing (what can rhyme convincingly
with Old Deuteronomy ?!) . During the interval, my companion
and I just looked at each other and wondered why this play had lasted
so long in the West End.
the second half, we got a glimpse as to why. The show picked up
the pace with athletic performances by Matthew Gould as Skimbleshanks
(the railway cat), and Guy-Paul Ruolt as Mistoffleles, the cat conjurer.
the moment came for THAT song. "Midnight" is the famous
aria from the musical and I was dreading it. There was a time when
every stage school or am-dram audition rang out with that song,
moment in the show is truly moving. Chrissie Hammond, playing Grizabella
(the glamour cat whos left the fold to return tattered, torn
and unwanted), gives a wonderful rendition of "Midnight",
taking it away from the syrupy sweetness of a thousand karaoke clubs,
and turning it into the plaintive, beseeching speech it was meant
to be. You understand what happiness was. You can see why shes
redeemed in the end.
is the sort of musical that will divide people. If youre the
sort who loves a good sing along and a dance, then youll find
this travelling show a feast for the eyes. But if you want your
musical with a something resembling a storyline, you will come away
just like with the real felines, you either love em or hate