Reviewed by Kerry Cooper
Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the production of Cats is based on T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. First brought to life on stage in 1981, it is one of the longest running musicals of all time.
You can understand why it has been described as a song and dance show, because the plot is thin and if it were not for the enthusiasm of a fantastic looking cast and a recognisable score you would be forgiven for asking what the point is. A striking set designed by director Leonie Osborne serves its purpose, whilst creating a backdrop and meeting place to the cast of cats. Make-up by Vanessa Shirley is sublime along with the myriad of costumes that highlight the variety of cats on show, but this production belongs to Carmel Vistoli’s choreography. Detailed and at times delicate movement performed by talented and agile dancers keeps this story rollicking at a steady pace. Ensemble routines were a major highlight.
The score hits the right note with experienced Ben Saunders at the helm, but the show which is most remembered for the standard ‘Memory’ is what the audience are waiting for. Aging glamourpuss Grizabella has seen better days and is ultimately the one chosen to be reborn. Jenny Scarce-Tolley is given the unenviable task of breathing life into this shabby cat and singing the shows signature tune. Unfortunately she never looks comfortable in the role, which is disappointing for a talented actress.
This is a show for the fans!