Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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.
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.
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.
How to be transformed into a Cat - stage 1.
Stage 2: Get the basic foundations in place.
Stage 2 of a cat transformation
Stage 3: Cat detail starts around the eyes.
The eyes have it as the detail starts to appear.
Stage 4: The chin develops into a cat's mouth.
Light and shade make a real difference
Stage 5: And she's feline good.
The final product - meeow!
Tuesday 9 – Saturday 27 September 2014
Performance Times; Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm, Wed Mats 2pm, Sat Mats 2.30pm.