‘Kitsch’ and ‘dated’ were adjectives used of Trevor Nunn’s revival of Cats in 2016 but with the Lycra cat suits, leg-warmers and tousled punk style wigs, it is iconic and I wouldn’t change it.
Now Pick Me Up Theatre have mounted a production at the Grand Opera House, and it is well worth a visit.
This unique show has little plot, except at the end. When we have been introduced to all the cats, Grizabella, played by Tracey Rea, is chosen to be reborn and to regain her beauty and glamour again.
As messages go I’m not sure this is very inspiring. But forget all that, the show is worth it alone for the songs and spectacular dance routines.
The show is a fantastic entertainment. It turns TS Eliot’s collection of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats into a magnificent extravaganza.
Pick Me Up Theatre have captured the intrinsic qualities of the piece and produced an excellent show.
Ali Kirkham is the director / choreographer and full realises the concept, which the musical director, Jessica Douglas, interprets beautifully.
The chorus of Jellicle cats is a well rehearsed ensemble. Their routines are stretching and vibrant.
The show rests on a series of divertisements featuring individual cats. The numbers are all sung superbly, and there are brilliantly executed dance routines.
Iain Harvey as Munkustrap is outstanding as are Shane Scarth as Macaverty, and Finn East as a humorous Rum Tum Tugger.
The duo of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer played by Matilda Gledhill and Evie Jones, was slick and sassy while Old Grumbie, Lea Williams, led a crisp tap routine that added the variety of style needed to keep the momentum.
There are many scenes to capture one’s attention. Mr Mistoffelees and his fight with Munkustrap included exceptional tumbling and acrobatics, and was aided by superb effects.
Grizabella has her ‘place in the sun’ and when she rose an octave in the last difficult section of her show stopping number Memory, I was truly overawed.
Let’s not forget the energy of the cast and chorus, including that extraordinarily tall white cat who added to the frenzy of the last chorus number.
Thank goodness we had the ringing baritone of Rory Mulvihill as Old Deuteronomy to restore calm and peace before we returned to the outside world.