If you tuned into my show Take The Stage on Siren FM yesterday, you may have heard me play a track from Cats and mention how I hadn't seen it yet. Well now I have. And to be honest... It really wasn't what I was expecting!
Firstly, with any musical that's been on the stage for ages and has had smashing reviews, you'd expect it to have some sort of decent story-line. Let me break it down. There's a lot of cats with wonderfully weird names, and they gather once a year or something to vote on which cat gets to be reborn. One of these, played by Elaine Page, is really old and no one likes her. Yet in the end, it's her that's chosen to get reborn (although at the end she goes up this golden escalator thing and it's essentially like she's gone to heaven). Amidst that, there's a song for each cat about who they are and then the leader gets kidnapped by a mean cat and then magically reappears in the next song. So there. That's more or less the story.
I was genuinely falling asleep after 28 minutes. Half the time you couldn't understand what they were singing about and when they all spoke together you could only catch the odd word here and there. Overall, really not what I was expecting, especially because I really wanted to like it!
The costumes are amazing! They really do look good and the attention to detail is unmissable. Similarly, the dancing was incredible and really showed off the talent that was on the stage. But apart from that ... there wasn't really much else to it.
Every now and then there'd be this really long instrumental part with all the "cats" dancing around, and I had to keep asking my housemate (who was watching with me) just what was going on. The story-line wasn't clear in the slightest, and the majority of it was just naming all these different cats.
My favourite part was the two cats called Mungo-Jerry and Rumpleteaser and that was due to the comedy element. Rum Tum Tugger was also a great part, played by John Partridge who is so lovely! So I liked them, but even that wasn't enough to sell it to me.
More emphasis needed to be placed on the story-line, because it reminded me of a school dance recital or something where you're sat there pretending to like it but secretly thinking "I need to get home to watch Eastenders". You can't even remember which cat is which, or who they are or half the time what they're all doing! It really needed to be much clearer.
Maybe a second time round might help me to follow it a bit easier, but for now I think I'll stick to Les Mis. Now THAT'S a musical!