CATS

Date 14th November 2018
Society WOW Youth Musical Theatre
Venue Weymouth Pavilion
Type of Production Musical
Director Jeremy Tustin
Musical Director Heather Reed
Choreographer Jeremy Tustin

Report

Author: Sylvia Coates

Never willing to rest on their laurels, WOW are always looking for the next challenge, and a challenge ‘Cats' certainly is.  The intensity of concentration was tangible on opening night and the audience appreciated the effort, as Weymouth’s young people posed and prowled through the disused theatre which was the setting for this creative re-imagining of the ‘Cats’ story.

Victoria’s ballet was elegant and graceful; the Jellicle Song introduced some nice hand movements which were a constant through the show; in The Old Gumbie Cat, the three ginger cats were a magnet of hustle and bustle; the colourful chorus clearly expressed their delight with Rum Tum Tugger, a cool cat with real presence, who with his fun moves and rock-star attitude was the archetypal feline Romeo; the strong voice and character of Grizabella was perfect - an evocative and poignant performance; the Glamour Cat song was a highlight, enhanced further as the two voices combined; Bustopher Jones was dapper and smooth; Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser were a bundle of fun and breath-taking energy, with Rumpleteaser’s strong voice and Mungojerrie’s long phrases, it was impressive that they could still achieve the final pose, Rumpleteaser balanced neatly on Mungojerrie’s hip; ‘Old Deuteronomy’ was very well-sung by Munkustrap and Rum-Tum-Tugger; narrator Munkustrap gave a top-quality performance throughout the show, with intriguing twitchy movements and a beaming smile, singing and speaking clearly and authoritatively as he guided us through this peculiar story; the cats waking up offered an interesting visual; the Jellicle Ball gave everyone at all levels a chance to show their dance skills, and it is a positive feature of this company that no-one lingers in the shadows; ‘Memory’ was beautifully sung by Grizabella; ‘Old Deuteronomy’ sung by kindly Jemima was lovely, her sweet voice and demeanour were exactly right; the cats vying for attention were fun; the brown cat’s speaking voice was good; Gus the Theatre Cat was nicely characterised, trembling and wistful; we enjoyed the humorous touches, such as the pirate strumming on Jemima’s tail and the inflatable parrot; Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat brought bags of energy and precision to the role; the cheeky and mischievous Macavity’s episode was a highlight of song and dance, with the chorus very poised to finish; Mr Mistoffolees’ had great presence, the song was commendable and the dance suitably haughty and superior; the magical production of Deuteronomy (accompanied by pyros) was dramatic; Jemima and Grizabella’s duet of ‘Memory’ was lovely; the finale number was perhaps the most striking for the company as a whole, with everyone involved and working in unison; technical elements such as pyros and interesting lighting effects added to the atmosphere of the show.

From the unwrapping of the stage in the opening sequence, through the touching and passionate acceptance of Grizabella, to the quirky contribution of Rum Tum Tugger at the end, this was a show full of surprises, performed by a company of entertainers.