Cats … pawing at a plot

When I went: 12 November 2015

Music Owl Hoot rating: 3/5

Location: London Palladium, London

Performers: Beverley Knight (Grizabella), Jack Butterworth (Rumpus/Alonzo), Danielle Cato (Cassandra), Javier Cid (Macavity/Admetus), Luke Cinque-White (Carbucketty), Emma Lee Clark (Bombalurina), Jon-Scott Clark (Bill Bailey), Gabrielle Cocca (Tantomile), Harry Francis (Mungojerrie), Tarryn Gee (Jemima), Evan James (Skimbleshanks), Matt Krzan (Munkustrap), Georgie Leatherland (Rumpelteazer), Adam Linstead (Old Deuteronomy), Paul F Monaghan (Gus/Growltiger/Bustopher Jones), Jane Quinn (Jennyanydots), Mark John Richardson (Quaxo/ Mistoffelees), Clare Rickard (Jellylorum), Jordan Shaw (Pouncival), Hannah Kenna Thomas (Victoria/ White Cat), James Titchener (Coricopat), Marcquelle Ward (Tugger), Anna Woodside (Demeter)

Creative team: Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), original book (T S Eliot), Cameron Mackintosh (producer), Trevor Nunn (director), Gillian Lynne (choreographer)

Approximate price: £75

Special points: Weird disjointed plot

Best bit: The Rum Tum Tugger / Old Deuteronomy

If I could change one thing: More coherent plot


The musical:

Cats is very famous for being weird, and rightly so. Based on T S Eliot’s poems, it is extremely disjointed and not at all easy to understand what is going on, but strangely the songs have an attractively quirky quality nonetheless. It is more like a showpiece of dancing, gymnastics, naturalistic cat-acting (and sometimes singing) for the performers than a normal musical.

This performance:

Grizabella is often played by a big name, and their name is always plastered above the relevant theatre as a draw for audiences. Beverley Knight did sing beautifully but the fact is that Grizabella isn’t really that big a part – there are so many parts that none of them are that significant. There were some impressive gymnastics from Harry Francis as Mungojerrie and Georgie Leatherland as Rumpelteazer in their number, and the Old Deuteronomy number focusing around Adam Linstead was strangely moving.

I left the theatre somewhat baffled but with the definite feeling that against the odds, I had enjoyed the show and would probably see it again.

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