Cats is one of the most magical musicals of all time. It is composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and has become a classic in its own right although it was originally based on TS Elliot’s book ‘Old Possum’s book of practical cats’. There is no other musical like it and this week it is touring Milton Keynes Theatre. It is truly a joy to watch.
It is supported by a full orchestra which gives justice to the beautiful music and along with the lighting gives so much atmosphere before the performers are even on the stage. And the performers or cats come down through the audience (this is the time to buy an aisle seat!) to get an amazing up front and personal experience of this wonderful show.
All the performers have the mannerisms of cats as well as individual personalities such as kind, affectionate, or aggressive tom cats or flamboyant cats. During the show, we get to meet some of these cats and their personalities.
But let me start at the beginning. Let me tell you the story of Cats. The musical tells the story of the Jellicles and we are lucky enough to see them on Jellicle choice night – a night when one cat is chosen to ascent the heaviside layer and come back to a new life. After all it is well known that cats have nine lives.
The show starts off by explaining how cats are named. We then meet several cats in turn. Jennyanydots who is a cat who just ‘sits and sits’ and then Rum Tum Tugger who is rather fickle. When Grizabella comes along, no one will touch her. She was once the most beautiful cat but now bears little resemblance to her former self. She is alone and miserable.
We then meet Bustopher Jones who is a smart cat about town. He is an elite cat and much respected. A noise frightens all the cats away and we are then met with two rather naughty cats. Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are two mischievous cats who are petty burglars. They are funny and amazing dancers at the same time. Finally, we meet Old Deuteronomy who is an old cat and will decide who will go to the Heaviside layer.
Every performer in this show is exceptional. They can sing and dance and move just like cats. It is a phenomenon. It has the most wonderful score to the musical and includes that very well-known song Memories.
This is a show not to be missed. This show has it all. A great orchestra. A wonderful soundtrack. Very talented performers and makes for a fabulous night out. It is suitable for all ages and even I got a bit excited when the performers came into the audience.
Go see this show and escape for a few hours to another world. Cats is in Milton Keynes Theatre until 29th October.