Saturday, May 06, 2006

Cats The Musical

It gets a bad rep, doesn't it? Among regular theatre goers you find two opinions -that it's Evil Webber taken to its most hideous 8Os excesses; or it's just, you know, Cats. That really famous musical called Cats. You know, the one about cats with all the cats in. I was in the second camp, I guess, and really wasn't expecting a whole lot when I went to see it last night at the Sheffield Lyceum. But my goodness it's great! I realise that expressing this opinion is probably a shooting offence according to the Taste Police but I really don't care. I think coming from a dance background helps, because acting being a cat can only be achieved through movement, and it's so very well done. The young cast look like they're having the time of their lives, putting their all into every move, and relishing the chance to come into the audience every now and then to ruffle some six year old kid's hair. And that's another thing that endeared me towards it - it was just so nice to not be the youngest person in the audience, but to see row upon row of smiling faces.

(Oh and yeah, while we're on the subject, this is for the lady in Row T, Seat 23: when the young girl behind you is enjoying the show, and maybe laughing and pointing out a funny bit of stage action a single decibel louder than you find appropriate, please don't put her off ever coming again by turning round and glaring at the poor thing.)

Anyway, the whole experience is, of course, just so fantastically slick. The lights coordinate inventively with the music, the set is brilliant, and every cast member plays his or her part by always staying in character. As for the songs, (Memory aside, which a crime against the production, mainly, not to mention T.S. Elliott) they're just incredibly vibrant and hum-able, which, sometimes, is exactly what you want. Honestly, next time it rolls into town, leave any preconceptions at the door and just enjoy.

8 comments:

David Duff said...

I had a somewhat similar experience when I went to see "The Lion King". The story was banal beyond description and the music by Elton John was dross, but the staging ...

I went to a matinee and there seemed to be ten thousand children in the place and the noise would have constituted cruel and unusual punishment in a CIA interrogation centre. Within seconds, I mean, seconds, of the entry of the 'animals' down the aisles you could here a pin drop, and so it remained as the children were transfixed by the spectacle. A crap show but great theatre, if you know what I mean.

One embittering moment, however, when they showed a drought hitting the desert by placing a blue silk circular sheet on the ground to represent a watering hole, and then slowly pulled the sheet below stage via a tiny hole. If I directed plays for another hundred years I don't think I would have thought of something so simple and yet so evocative. Bugger!

AnnaWaits said...

That does sound wonderful!

Oh, and if there's any confusion, the 'young girl' was not me... she could glare at me all she wanted, I'd have just glared back. In fact I did, on the little kid's behalf. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked Cats. I enjoyed it. I saw when I was younger in a traveling production, and then I saw it right before it ended it's Boradway run when I was 22 or something. I think the fact that it's based on TS Eliot makes it worthy. It's not schlock so much because of that strong foundation. PLUS, costuming is pretty rad.
-bib

Mouldy said...

I agree with you about Cats. I love it. All except for that song about Mungojerrie (?) and Rumpleteezer because I have only ever heard the Original London Cast Recording and that song was partly sung by Bonnie Langford who I loathe.

I like Memory too. Maybe its a gay thing - torch songs etc.

I find it weird that David Duff shuld describe the story of the Lion King as banal. I always saw similarities to Hamlet.

Oh well, takes all sorts, In suppose.

Keep up the good blogging Anna - I love it!

AnnaWaits said...

Aww thanks! No, Mungojerry/Rumpleteaser's not a favourite of mine either...

Mouldy said...

So what is? Whilst we are on the subject...

AnnaWaits said...

Rum Tug Tugger's great, but to be honest, my fave is probably Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats.

Mouldy said...

Rum Tum Tugger is ok.

I like Skimble Shanks, the one about the Gumbie Cat and yes, the Jellicle one is good too. Oh! And the one about the Theatre Cat - what's his name?