Review: Cats, Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Feline good… the highly talented cast of Cats. Photograph: York Light Youth
31 Oct 2015 @ 12.00 pm
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Cats by York Light Youth

Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York

Till Sat Nov 7 @ 7.30pm; Sat matinees @ 2.30pm


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Joseph Rowntree Theatre enjoyed a feline invasion courtesy of York Light Youth and their performance of Cats.

The stage was packed with a riot of colour and Lycra. A steampunk theme was very much in evidence and the make up was so good I struggled at times to work out who was beneath the stage paint.

I was unfamiliar with Cats, but have really enjoyed previous performances by this talented group of youngsters and wasn’t disappointed with this evening’s show.

At one point I’m sure I counted around 30 youngsters on the stage. This is a large cast with some familiar faces from previous shows and some new talent as well.

For those not familiar with the story it revolves around an annual cats ball, and we learn the stories behind the cats as the evening progresses.

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Based on the poems of TS Eliot, the story is told entirely in song and dance to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

If you watch the cast who aren’t the main ensemble you’ll see lots of feline mannerisms as they watch from the back of the stage.

One of those who stood out for me, and who I think is going to be a very up-and-coming actor, is Max Mulrenan. Every time I see him I’m impressed.

Jack Porter had a stunning costume, reminding me at times of a circus ring leader. Along with Tobias Webb, Thomas Yeomans and Lucas Wells, he showed us some excellent dance moves.

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Sam Rippon, always one of my favourites, portrayed Gus the theatre cat. He transformed from the aging old man
with the shaking hand to the vibrant young pirate and back again.

Sam consistently expresses his characters well, really bringing them to life for me, and has a wide-ranging talent.

Naomi Halliday stole the show with her portrayal of Grizabella, the role made famous by Elaine Page. Her voice is strong, faultless and perfect for Memories.

From the detail of the set that resembles an abandoned circus to the cleverly executed costumes and make up not a detail was missed.

The hours of rehearsal showed as this dedicated and talented young cast entertained a packed theatre.

It’s a great show for all the family, and if you’re quick there are still tickets left, with a buy one get one free offer on the Halloween performance on Saturday, October 31.