Cats at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow by Susie Daniels
Lyrca-tight felines with tigerprint leotards, toe-pointing perfection ( I resisted the urge to say purrfection) and magnificent catchy Andrew Lloyd Webber songs are what make the Cats musical so endlessly magical.
If you ever wondered what the tv programme The Secret Life of Cats would be like if it was turned into an all singing all dancing musical with no cheese and plenty of classy choreography then you have found yourself sitting in Glasgow’s King’s Theatre watching one one of the longest running theatre musicals! (the longest running – Mousetrap – was on at the King’s on Monday!)
Under a moonlit sky the Jellicle cats come up to play, prance and pounce as their haunt is visited by a host of waifs, strays and unsavoury characters who all have a song to sing and a story to tell.
Cats, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne. It’s backdrop may be unremarkable but where the money hasn’t been spent on stage set the theatre company has pulled out all the stops on lighting to create a nocturnal, playful and sometimes explosive mood on stage.
Rum Tum Tigger played brilliantly by Marcquelle Ward is a popular cat with swagger and a bit of rap thrown in to update the show and keep it fresh and vibrant (keepin’ it real, keepin’ it real!). He’s a bit of a Shaft character who’s extremely feline-friendly and isn’t afraid to say it as it is.
We have other cats thrown into the mix including Mongojerrie and Rumpoteaser – the Cabaret act of the show who do the next best thing to producing jazzy paws. Their fabulous sing and dance routine wows the crowd.
Old Deuteronomy played by Kevin Stephen Jones reminds me of Peter Ustinov’s old Methuselah-type character in Logan’s Run (see best clip of the film below) and I wonder if the 1976 sci-fi film is where Webber got the old, haggard character idea from. (after reading T.S Eliot’s poems of course)
Macavity played by Javier Cid is described as the ‘the Napoleon of crime’ – a cat to be feared and vilified and with songs from the wonderfully dazzling Mr Mistoffelees – queue the catchy tune,’oh well, I never was there ever a cat so clever as magical Mr Mistoffeles’ it’s no wonder that audiences return again and again to see such an entertaining show.
Ofcourse in any show there’s usually a show-stopping moment and Marianne Benedict’s rendition of Memories has got to be that spine-tingling moment. She’s the model cat turned downtrodden waif who’s been chosen by Deuteronomy to be ‘reborn again’ and so it’s a show leaving you with a feeling of high spirits and that you’ve just witnessed a fabulous slice of live entertainment. Who needs London theatreland?!
Cats the musical is on at Glasgow King’s Theatre from now until Saturday 17th September.