On just one special night of the year, all Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, makes the Jellicle choice and announces which of them will go up to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.
On Tuesday evening my friend Roxy and I headed to the Palladium Theatre to see the latest incarnation of the musical Cats.
After a quick bite to eat at the Garfunkel’s on the same street we headed to the theatre with plenty of time to spare and I’m so glad that we did because there is an amazing array of drawings, costumes and other pieces of theatrical Cats history from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s personal collection set up in the Val Parnell bar that is well worth a look so if you’re going to see the show do leave some extra time to see this! It’s open for 2 hours prior to each show and there are also family friendly activities happening such as face painting and poetry readings.
As for the show itself I had no idea what to expect having never seen it before. I’ve seen a lot of Cats cosplayers at conventions and the attention to detail is awesome, something I hadn’t really appreciated until I saw the show. Based on the poems in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, Cats doesn’t have much of a plot but instead introduces you to the weird and wonderful cats of the Jellicle tribe each with their own song. Pretty much all musical genres are catered for including rap in this latest incarnation – which I believe has been quite a controversial addition – but was actually one of my favourites along with the Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer duet.
But what really blew me away (as often does with theatre) was the set. Wow it was incredible. Much larger than a normal stage (almost as though they’d gotten rid of the wings) and such beautiful attention to detail, cats seem to appear from nowhere for the duration and some of the special effects are magnificent. I guarantee you you’ll be dancing along and tapping your toes by the time you leave!
Cats has been extended until the 25th April due to demand and I thoroughly recommend it. Get aisle seats if you can as those mischievous cats don’t always stick to the confines of the stage 😉