Broadway in Vancouver Series
CATS

Dates 5 - 10 April 2005, 8pm Venue Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Reviewer John Jane


 

 

 

 

Music Andrew Lloyd Webber
Tour Director Richard Stafford


Jellicle Songs
Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats

Adapted from The Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a collection of children’s poems by T.S. Eliot, Cats has become the most financially successful stage musical ever and much of the show’s success is due to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s contagious score.

The PURR-formers assembled for this touring production did an excellent job in planting these memorable tunes in the audience’s psyche. The 25 member cast gave 100% but they may have been confined by Richard Stafford’s restrictive direction. Unlike earlier productions, where the cast visited the seats of members of the audience, activity was essentially limited to the stage floor.

The Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage was magically transformed into a junkyard, scaled up in proportion with human-sized cats. This junkyard becomes a cosmic chaparral in which all the “cats” get an opportunity to strut their stuff, revealing characters very much like those that we might observe in a human community.

 

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As the “cats” take their turn at centre stage, other things are going on in the background with other cast members improvising catlike antics such as preening and stretching after a nap.

Cats lacks any real plot, with Lloyd Webber simply setting Eliot’s jeu d'esprit verse to dance and music. Neither are there any principal characters, though Natalie Attino is profoundly tragic as the once glamourous Grizabella and Kym Chambers is fabulously feline as the sympathetic Jellylorum. Among the “tom cats” John Boy is "supercool" as the cataleptic, hard-rocking Tugger.

Journey to the Heavyside Layer

John Napier’s flamboyant costumes and garish make-up kept the spirit of Eliot’s “cats” and at the same time allowed dancers freedom of movement.

If there was ever a show that the whole family can go out and enjoy, this has to be it. Cats is primarily musical theatre for children -- children of all ages.

2005 John Jane

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