Before he wrote the record-breaking The Phantom of the Opera English composer and impresario of musical theatre Andrew Lloyd Webber composed a wonderful musical that was inspired by the poetry of T.S. Eliot, arguably the most influential English-language poet of the last century.
Cats tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as the ‘Jellice choice’ to decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life, and it was brilliantly brought to life at the Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac at the Mall of Emirates on Tuesday.
Essentially Cats is an intense dancing-and-singing production that demands a lot from its lead performers, who can do both. And the likes of Alison Jiear, in the lead role of the Grizabella, Michael Cotton’s Munkustrap, Natazcza Soozie Boon as Demeter and Rumpleteazer, Miles Hoare’s Mungojerrie and Mr Mistoffelees and Barry Haywood as Old Deuteronomy, did everything to bring the house down.
Cats ran for 18 years on Broadway and was only surpassed by Phantom, and it was easy to see why it became such a favourite among theatre-goers given the quality of musical interpretation and sheer star power of songs like Memory, Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer, The Ballad of Billy M’Cawand the rousing finale, the Ad-dressing of Cat, which feature a supremo performance by Haywood’s baritone.
Seeing Cats live on stage is a wonderful experience and the sound and stage production was slick and made for a rich experience. It’s a jaunty show at times and although it is not groundbreaking in any way Cats is fine example of solid entertainment that only the theatre can deliver.
I went home with a song in my heart and a renewed love of the good old musical. Let’s have some more of them.