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Cats

Date

6th March 2018

Society

TEMPO

Venue

Evans Theatre, Wilmslow Leisure Centre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Val Watkinson

Musical Director

John Barry

Choreographer

William Whelton

Assistant Choreographer

Holly Henry

Report

Author: Christine Hunter Hughes

CATS really needs no introduction, it has after all been around for over 18 years and clocked up a huge 7,485 performances on Broadway in its original run.  The whole thing is set in a grotty London junkyard, and the loose plot is that on the night of the Jellical Ball, (which as ‘humans’ we are privileged to be able to see) a cat will be chosen by the Lord of the Cat Kingdom, Old Deuteronomy, to ascend to the “Heaviside Layer” to be re-born.  We are introduced to all the various Jellicle Cats in turn and the tension mounts as we await the decision from Old Deuteronomy.  

So, moving on to this, the latest production of Cats performed by Tempo which could turn out to be something of a brief review as, put quite simply it was a simply great production from beginning to end.

Somewhat unusually I am going to begin with that pet hate of mine – Diction – and extend to the entire cast my very, very warmest thanks and many congratulations on their diction – which was quite simply superb!  I heard every single spoken word and the vast majority of the sung words which in my book is almost unheard of so Thank You so much!   Obviously, some of that praise must also be extended to the obviously very talented sound technicians who balanced the sound so very well – thank you.  

I must also mention the orchestra who were also excellent really allowing the singers to put so much feeling and character into their songs, all were good, but it would not be a CATS review without mentioning Memory – the signature tune of the show which was performed simply wonderfully and so expressively, with a sensitive orchestral backing and delivered excellently.     

The set looked superb and the lighting plot worked so very well to really set the scene so that we really were, by the magic of the fourth wall transported to said grotty London Junkyard, just as an aside, I loved the moon!   

Costumes for this are, by now almost a tradition, and these were no exception, but they were worn well and looked comfortable…………

But the wearers of those costumes were, quite simply fantastic. The opening Jellicle Cats was sung superbly, standing in almost ‘choral style’ and was sung so well that it raised the hairs on the back of my neck.  That was possibly the last time during the entire show that these talented young people were still, they danced and mewed and occasionally hissed their way through the entire production. Choreography both designed and executed was superb, with each number as good or better than the last.  

It would be impossible, not to say unfair to single out any one person as in the entire cast there really was not a single weak link – major principals and chorus alike – no ‘goldfishing’ or checking with their neighbour to see what the next move should be.  The whole cast was well drilled and perhaps even more importantly looked to be thoroughly enjoying entertaining their audience.  It really was a show that would in no way disgrace the West End. Hence the rather brief review – put simply you run out of superlatives.  

My very warmest congratulations to everyone involved in any way with this simply superb production and thank you for the warm welcome and kind hospitality – it was an absolute privilege and delight to be there.