Review: Cats, The Marlowe, Canterbury

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber

Choreographer: Gillian Lynne

Director: Trevor Nunn

Originally Posted: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/cats-marlowe-theatre-canterbury/

#Tweetingit: Review in 140 characters – A timeless classic which both adults and children alike will love

Cats

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a timeless classic. Cats ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, making it the second longest running show ever on Broadway. It has won 7 Tonys and 2 Olivier Awards, has been made into a film and performed all over the world. Adults and children alike can enjoy something about this show. The last time I saw it, I was 12. I loved the giant junk yard set; spotting bits of old household furniture, enlarged to show the perspective of the cats, the actors as cats fascinated me with their incredible costumes and make up and well observed feline qualities. Now as an adult, I appreciate the music, the words and dance. I never realised before how balletic the show is, how demanding it must be on the cast and how impressive it is that they can sing some seriously challenging songs and harmonies while leaping around the stage.

However, it appears that this is not the view of many. Most people are either a cat lovers or a dog lovers and matching this trend are those who either love or hate Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical. It seems a lot of people see this as a bit of an odd musical with no real story other than that a group of cats have got together to sing, dance and finally be chosen to be reincarnated – yes that’s right – reincarnated!

The story revolves around a clowder of cats celebrating the jellicle ball. On one night a year the group of Jellicle Cats meet to celebrate and tell stories while waiting for their spiritual leader, Old Deuteronomy, to select one them to journey to the Heaviside Layer and ascend to the next realm. While the cats are waiting for this to happen, the audience are introduced to them all and are told their life stories.

Despite Memory being the number everyone remembers from the show, Mr Mistoffelees is the stand out song of the night. Joseph Pulton as Mr Mistoflees .does an impressive job as the  quintessential ballet dancing cat. Wowing the audience with his wowing the audience with his dance prowess, he certainly matches all of  which the song proclaims about him.

Other exciting numbers include that of the acrobatic and very likeable petty criminals, Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer, played excellently portrayed by Benjamin Yates and Dawn Williams. Despite there notable height difference, they worked together to produce some remarkable tumbling and aerobic dancing. While the Gumbie trio, Abigail Jaye, Clare Rickard and Chaelen Ford. pulled off beautiful harmonies with ease, creating a sounds similar to that of The Andrews Sisters. And of course is the opening number – Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats which cannot be forgotten.

The entire cast are seriously accomplished. Away from the lead roles were three in particular who I couldn’t tear my eyes from when they graced the stage. Cassie Clare as Cassandra the Egyptian Sphinx made her professional stage debut in an impressive way wither playful, mysterious and elegant take on the role. While elsewhere in the female cast was some sensational ballet moves from The White Cat – Hannah Kenna Thomas. The “chorus” actor who stood out for me was Alonzo played by Adam Lake. His dancing was perfect, strong and sexy while his flips, tumbles and feline qualities were perfectly performed. I would like to see him in a bigger part on another occasion.

The only criticism I have is that some of the songs are now a tad prosaic. After hearing the first couple of lines you could probably guess most of the rest of the tune especially since many of them have hints of Joseph about them. However, this doesn’t stop them being beautiful songs with some seriously challenging harmonies and high notes.

If you are a fan of musicals, a dance lover or want some nostalgia and a fun and easy show to watch, this is definitely for you. If you want a solid story and narrative then it really isn’t. There’s definitely life in the old Cat yet and I can see it continually falling its feet for a long time to come.

Runs until: Saturday 28th June 2014 and then continues to tour

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About Playhouse Pickings

Theatre blog run by Rhiannon Lawson; a civil servant, extreme tea drinker and theatre reviewer.
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