4 May 2006
We went to watch Cats on Tuesday night at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. (I would’ve posted about this earlier, but I was waiting for Chris to write an in-depth review so I could write a quick post and link to it, but it looks like he’s too busy talking about flowers and hot days...)
I like to think that I’m pretty good at following the plots of plays and musicals. However, it usually helps when there’s a plot to follow. I later learned from Wikipedia that I was almost there: the cats were having their annual Jellicle Ball at a junkyard to make the Jellicle Choice and announce the cat who can be reborn. And that’s it. (Except when they say “reborn” they actually mean “die”.) As the Wikipedia entry also says, “While CATS is often criticized for its lack of plot, it does have a minimal story used to string its musical numbers together.”
The production was very well presented, so it’s a shame that Andrew Lloyd Webber didn’t spend more time on the storyline really. I guess the producers felt that the lack of plot meant that they should add extra dance sequences and reprises of songs to give the audience their money’s worth. (The fact that the cats came to interact with the audience was a nice touch though.)
I noticed one of the ‘Jellicle’ cats (possibly The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees, although I can’t be sure because they all looked quite similar) had been to the Wayne Sleep School of Dance and learnt Wayne’s favourite dance move. You know the one I’m talking about – I’ve mentioned it before – it’s the one where he spins around as fast as he can on one leg. It got a huge round of applause again anyway. (Why the contestants on Strictly Dance Fever don’t just do that each week I’ll never know!)
My conclusion? I’m glad I’ve seen it. I was a bit unsure about going at first as I get the impression that all ALW’s shows are too pantomime-like. Having said that, any show that’s still running after 25 years must be worth seeing.