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Stunning CATS back for Christmas at the London Palladium – Review

Beverley Knight (Grizabella) photo Matt Crokett
Beverley Knight (Grizabella) photo Matt Crockett

Cats is back for Christmas. After last year’s successful short run at the London Palladium, the foot tapping, happy-making musical has been brought back to the West End and runs until 2nd January 2016.

I think I was the only person sat in the London Palladium this week who hadn’t seen the original West End run of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical. The show opened in 1981 and was a massive success running for 21 years. All around me throughout the show were knowing whispers: “I love the choreography in this next bit”, “Oh wow, they’ve changed that”. It is a testament to the show’s popular appeal that I already knew all of the songs.

Cats is a sung-through musical based on T.S Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’. Throughout the musical, we are introduced to a series of cats from wise Old Deuteronomy to the master criminal Macavity. Directed by Trevor Nunn, it’s a visual and musical spectacular. The lighting design by David Hersey and Howard Eaton was especially good. The lighting augments the choreography, illuminating Gillian Lynne’s inventive, playful yet difficult steps.

The ingenious lighting design was particularly evident during the rap sequence in Rum Tum Tugger. A turntable is created on the stage as Marcquelle Ward raps and breakdances; an impressive moment.

It is a stunning ensemble show but there are performances which stand out. All eyes are on Mr Mistoffelees and his light-up starry jacket. Mark John Richardson gives a stellar performance gracefully propelling himself around the stage.

Dazzling acrobatics are also provided by Harry Francis and Georgie Leatherhead who play Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. Beverley Knight gives a powerful, consuming rendition of Memory moving much of the audience to tears. Her movement didn’t satisfy as much as her voice though, possibly due to the rest of the company being such completely convincing cats. They had adopted and perfected feline mannerisms. You almost believe they are cats.

Do go and see this blockbuster show while you can. You won’t regret it. It’s a five star stunner! I promise you’ll be left feline furry happy after watching this purrfect mewsical…

5 Star Rating

 

Review by Laura-Jane Foley

Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the original creative team – Director Trevor Nunn, Associate Director and Choreographer Gillian Lynne, Designer John Napier and Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber – are reunited to bring Cats back to the West End this Christmas.

CATS
Running Time: 2 hours and 16 minutes
Age Restrictions: Suitable for ages 5 years+
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm

Booking From: 23rd October 2014
Booking Until: 2nd January 2016

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