Cats review - February 2015

Guest Review CherAnn Macuroy T : "Stunning"

I saw Cats for the first time last December at the London Palladium and even went back a second time after Christmas! Now starring West End favourite, Kerry Ellis, I was thrilled to be invited to return. Being a stranger to Cats when I first saw it, it was easy to be a touch overwhelmed by the heightened feline world I was taken into; the fact that one is watching performers move and express themselves like real live cats can be very strange at first. However re-living the memory for the third time, I have learned to love the show for it’s beautiful uniqueness.

For theatre-newbies, the way that Cats is portrayed can be a little hard to comprehend; there is no real plot structure and the show is presented rather like a ballet. That is to say that there is little dialogue, a showcase of dance sequences and each character has its own spotlight and solo number. However this makes Cats different from all other commercial musicals, not only of its 1980’s area, but nowadays too. It really is a stand out show.

Like many others, I was mesmerized by the entire production. The stunning set designs, the lighting effects, the incredible choreography and the gorgeous harmonies all worked to enchant the audience into a haunting yet stunning world of feline beings. It is clear how much effort has gone in to creating such a piece of art as one witnesses the energy, flexibility, passion and fun the cast is having on stage.

With a few tweaks and changes for the new generation, I have learned to warm up to Antoine Murray-Straughan’s rapping Rum Tum Tuggger and found him quite entertaining, especially up close. My stand outs this time around was Laurie Scarth’s amusing Jennyanydots, Benjamin Yates & Dawn Williams’ comical Mungojerrie & Rumpelteazer, and Joseph Poulton’s stunning Mr. Mistoffelees, who received an amazing round of applause throughout his pirouettes over and over again. The audience was electric, laughing at the right moments.

Ellis demonstrated something new to her role of Grizabella the Glamour Cat that was a vast difference from her prior roles as Elphaba in Wicked and Fantine in Les Miserables. Ellis brings a cute sassiness to her physicality which beautifully juxtaposes with her daunting, soft vocals and later long, powerful money notes.

So what of Ellis’ ability to belt out “Memory,” I mean that’s the big question right?! WELL it is safe to say she delivers! The emotions Ellis brought each word and note were so moving, left tears streaming down my face and I was not alone! The audience were left awestruck of this small-framed vocal prowess, applauding triumphantly. Yep, Kerry Ellis is a sassy, powerful little diva of a feline Grizabella. Brava!

This returning production of Cats is definitely a spectacle that has a nice mixture of traditional, classical, contemporary, and modern feels which the 21st century is very lucky to witness and appreciate entirely. It would be wonderful if it were a long-running musical in the West End.
GUEST REVIEWED by CherAnn Macuroy T.

Di Viv and Rose Review
18 February 2015, London Palladium