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Cats - Birmingham Hippodrome and London Palladium Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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These crazy cats will have you feline fine
It's been over 30 years since Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats first launched on to stage and its eccentricity is still winning over new audiences.

Based on poems by T.S Eliot, it's a jamboree of slightly crazy scenes about various 'Jellicle' cat characters with a very loose storyline pulling them altogether.

Cats, Birmingham Hippodrome, musical, UK Tour, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Whatson in Birmingham
Joseph Poulton as Mistoffelees in Cats.

The first time I saw Cats, a few years ago, my senses were overloaded by the songs and dancing, but I also felt a little bewildered at the randomness of the plot.

This time around at Birmingham Hippodrome, I knew better - to sit back and just enjoy journeying through T.S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats with a cabaret of its lovable characters and amazing costumes.

A cat roll call includes dastardly Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer - the cat burglars, magical cat Mr Mistoffelees and heart-throb(among the felines) Rum Tum Tugger.

But after more than three decades, the show is starting to look a little dated with few special effects and a very 1980s feel to the music. So it's no surprise that Andrew Lloyd Webber has revealed that Cats will undergo a revamp following this latest tour to include modernisations, such as "some rap elements" when it returns to London's Palladium Theatre for a new 12-week run from December 6.

Musical Cats leaves a lasting memory

Despite time catching up with some elements, overall, this is still an eye-catching musical that children will love.

The costumes for a start, manage to reflect an uncanny likeness to our feline friends with the dancers constantly staying in character. Even when out of the limelight, some would be washing behind their ears or clawing their way into a sofa. The choreography by Gillian Lynne complements this further.

There's plenty of mixing with the audience too as these cats stray down aisles and alleyways to accost unsuspecting theatre-goers to add to the fun.

The lovable characters and bright costumes in Cats make it a musical for all the family

Song-wise there's a couple that stand out, like Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer and the jazzy Macavity, but they all pale into comparison with the show's big hitter, Memory. It's an iconic classic that has stood the test of time, bringing the same goosebumps as it did three decades ago.

Cats is a global phenomenon that has now been seen by more than 50million people worldwide. Its fame precedes it.

But that fame is there for a reason. It's a very British, quirky, eccentric outing, especially for those who love cats.

Rating: 7/10

Make-up fans will also be interested to see the photos shared with Weekend Notes by Birmingham Hippdrome on the stages of a transformation from actress to cat!

Here's how to become a cat:

Stage 1: Fresh-faced and ready for make-up.
Cat makeup
How to be transformed into a Cat - stage 1.

Stage 2: Get the basic foundations in place.
 Cat makeup transformation2
Stage 2 of a cat transformation

Stage 3: Cat detail starts around the eyes.
Cat makeup transformation3
The eyes have it as the detail starts to appear.

Stage 4: The chin develops into a cat's mouth.
Cat makeup transformation4
Light and shade make a real difference

Stage 5: And she's feline good.
Cat makeup transformation5
The final product - meeow!


Birmingham Hippodrome
Tuesday 9 Saturday 27 September 2014
Performance Times; Mon Sat eves 7.30pm, Wed Mats 2pm, Sat Mats 2.30pm.

Tickets cost 17.50-42.50 from the Birmingham Hippodrome website.

London Palladium
Argyll Street, West End, London
0844 874 0667

December 6 - February 28

Tickets cost 20 to 59.50.
For tickets, visit the London Palladium website.
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Why? See an iconic feline good musical
When: Until February 28 - London
Phone: 0844 338 5000 - Birmingham Hippodrome
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome and London Palladium
Cost: From 18
Your Comment
It is amazing seeing the make-u transformation. I love Cats. I used to watch it all the time on video, but I have never seen it at the theatre.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2684 days ago
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by ABC Writer on 31/05/2016
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