CATS – Festival Theatre – 4.5K

CATS_editorialBy Peter Maddern

Nearly 35 years ago, the premiere of Cats in London ushered in a new wave of musical and new musical maestro team, that of Andrew Lloyd Webber (solo) and Cameron MacKintosh. It is no exaggeration to say all that has come since in musicals emanates from that moment; where pizzazz, dance and lights can overwhelm any shortcomings in the quality of the music.

T.S. Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ with additions, have stood the test of time in being full of appeal to both adults as well as children; stories of the weak, the powerful, the evil and the wise. That it requires a cast of 25 to make this all happen speaks volumes to the enormity of the production that now returns to Adelaide after what must be near on 30 years.

The first half is less appealing than the second with its abundance of dance to supplement some at time repetitious tunes. But Grizabella’s (Delia Hanah) soaring Memories near its conclusion provides the hook that keeps it all together and after the break Cats hits its stride with confidence and zest with its string of memorable tunes including Macavity, Mr Mistoffelees and the reprising of Memories.

The cast work tirelessly, at various times down amongst the audience, with their feline features fresh and full of fire – one can only imagine how far in advance of the overture being struck up that the face painters start to ply their trade.

Cats is great fun, a joy for all ages and given its rarity in this town an event not to be missed – musical theatre of this richness is a privilege not a right.

Kryztoff Rating   4.5K

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