|Date||2nd April 2022|
|Society||Middlesbrough Youth Theatre|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Director||Wendy Lowe, Janice Dawn Carmo|
|Musical Director||Tim Jasper|
|Choreographer||Janice Dawn Carmo, Wendy Lowe|
|Written By||T.S. Elliot|
Author: Jean Scarlett-Carr
It had taken MYT a full 2 years to be able to perform their latest musical production of TS Elliot's Cats, following the pandemic delays and effects, but it was so worth the wait.
This production was so fully accomplished in every way, the set staging was creatively designed, the lighting was colourful and atmospherically engaging, the choreography was stunningly staged and executed to such technical accuracy and in such unison. The voices in the chorus singing were beautiful in harmonies and the principal singers were all excellent, creating a show performance levels well above their teenage years. The costumes were cleverly designed, augmented with knitted hand and feet warmers, and makeup and wigs were so effective that it was difficult to recognise the person underneath. All were bespoke with additional characterisations that made the 28 cast each their own individuals, within the very polished group.
Opening number ‘Jellicle Cats’ introduced all the various cats, though with so many fast single lines it was sometimes hard to know who was singing where, coordinated overall by “Munkustrap” that was played by James Oliver, who excelled throughout the show with superb dancing, lovely character and super singing voice. “Jennyanydots” played by Mary-Kate Bousfield started the individual stories, in her large coat that was removed to reveal an orange sparkle strands to go into a full cast tap in ‘Old Gumbie Cat’. “Rum Tum Tugger” played by Robbie Davies with his fur collar gave such a characterful performance, also had a great voice and delightful dancing, with hips to die for! Fat cat “Bustopher Jones” in his black and white tux was Niall Murphy, who had a great energetic character and comedy role with lovely singing and dancing in all that costume was no easy feat. Twin cats “Mungojerrie” by Jamie Collict and “Rumpleteazer” from Georgia Lumb in their brown stripes were so good together, full of cheeky character and energetic dance and their final sequence of interlocked cartwheels was stunning and deserved their spontaneous applause. “Old Deuteuronomy” was brought to us from Corey Clarke, who was majestic in his character and with his rich toned singing voice in his named song and ‘The Moments of Happiness’. “Grizabella” by Emily Wallace had a voice that was so crystal clear and appeared effortless in the power given when singing the intro of the song ‘Memory’ that was stunning. “Asparagus” the theatre cat was artistically creative in nature, lovely mannerisms from Jack Duffield, and another rich voice, and nicely narrated by “Jellylorum” played by Lucy Patchett. “Skimbleshanks” the railway cat number performed by Connor Smith had great character and choreography, and clever use of prop wheels and canopy by the cast to create the train. “Demeter” performed by Erin Casey as yellow cat was beautiful in dance and featured feistily in several songs along with Bombalurina, excelling in ‘Macavity; the mystery cat’. “Macavity” was brought to us by Elliemae Thurston, who gave excellent performance and acrobatic skills and with clever use of tech effects created a lovely spectacle fight scene, with Munkustrap. “Bombalurina” played by Chloe Allport in her colourful red costume was so graceful in her excellent dancing through out and super singing voice in ‘Macavity’ to give a really-polished performance. “Mr Mistoffelees” (Olivia Cockerill) as the black and white cat in costume with lights, had excellent dancing, covering the full stage several times round in her routine, and performing the magic trick to bring back Deuteronomy. The full version of song of the show for me, ‘Memory’, from Emily Wallace as “Grisabella” just accentuated the stunning voice and accompanied by Eva Nowell as "Jemima" and was so well performed by both, giving an exquisite performance. The ‘Journey to Heavyside’ song was an atmospherical number with the lighting and closing tabs. Outstanding throughout was the white cat “Victoria” danced by Emily Felgate who with such strength and flexibility as well as dance skill talent was a true delight to watch, along with remaining chorus cats from Bethany B, Bethany H, Eva S, Isabella, Izzy, Jessica, Lacey, Lily, Lucie, Matilda, and Olivia, who all gave amazing support characters.
The standing ovation following finale and throughout the bows was so well deserved, in respect to all involved in creating this spectacular show. MYT – wow - I thoroughly loved this, and what an achievement by the leaders, and all - cast, techs and helpers !