30th May 2019
Limelight Theatre Company
Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
Type of Production
Sarah Browne repetiteur Laura Western
Author: Susan DuPont
Thank you also for hosting and having NODA President Jacquie to visit you at the dress rehearsal which she enjoyed immensely, would loved to have stayed to see the show but her programme prevented, and she was so pleased to talk with the children.
40 children age 6 to 16 years filled the Maddermarket stage and thrilled us with their performance. A clever minimal set of levels and props, the T.S Elliott Builders Yard was perfect to show off those excellent ‘boiler-suit’ cat costumes from Petersfield Theatre Company, imaginative lighting to give atmosphere, fantastic makeup designed Hannah Rolfe, all pleasing on the eye.
The director Zelda Rolfe with her Creative Team of Cat Chapman (choreography - outstanding) and Sarah Browne (music) brought out all the talents in this mixed age Limelight group, and capitalised on the commitment shown throughout.
As Munkertrap, 11 yr old Leo masterminded so much of the action, was always there on time with great energy and personality and clear voice. Finn, aged 14 yr took his place of command in that tree branch chair and supervised as Old Deuteronomy. And the action of so many character cats with those dancing moves and full voiced well learned lyrics just took off for us all in that Jellicle Ball. The entry of the tiny 6 and 7 year-old kittens brought out the Kleenex, and how good they were and knew songs and moves, loved their black and white suits.
So many lovely cat portrayals, the costumes showing some of the traits and foibles, clever, and we all have our favorites; Kieran as Rum Tum Tigger with that full-on personality and vigour and vocals; an excellent tale teller and character actor (and mover) Fabian as Gus the Theatre Cat assisted by young Jellylorum from Tianna. We meet The Old Gumble Cat (Jennyanydots) from Phoebe, the White Cat dancing by Daniella, Zoe as Griddlebone, August as Demeter, Millie as Bombalurina, James as Caricopat. A very sophisticated ‘music hall’ black and white Bustopher Jones by Lucas, the mischievous and flexible double-act cat burglars Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer from the irrepressible Molly and Gabriella, the timing of Chloe as Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat leading that big number, and that pure soprano from Rosemary as Jemima the youngest Jellicle. And just needing to be more than 10 years, I can see Samuel as dancer Mr Mistoffolees going for Matthew Bourne in the future (and that is his ambition). And finally, that amazing maturity and purity of voice, with the power, how can an 11 year-old be so calm in this famous song, Eve was outstanding in all notes as Grizabella with ‘Memory’.
It is the overall impression of dedicated and hard work needed to reach this standard in all characters, the full volume and enthusiasm from the Company in the big numbers, they were totally immersed in all that they gave to their full ability on stage, this Limelight group showed what can be achieved with no weak links throughout, but also that they enjoyed the whole enterprise and performed with this great energy and teamwork, certainly they deserved the full houses and applause.
My one sad thought is that, on the night I attended, there were problems with the sound:: an overwhelming non-balance of the cd music over the mics for performers is unacceptable, as is the variation in levels for some performers meaning that late cues and many words lost resulted in the audience not fully experiencing all the text of T.S. Elliott. Hopefully corrected in other performances?