What’s on at the Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS comes to Milton Keynes.

You know it’s good when you are still singing the next day.

Based on T S Elliot’s old Possum’s book of practical cats Webber creates a 21st century twist.

Cleverly directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, Webber’s score was vibrant, the technical team and orchestra produced a high octane musical extravaganza enthralling from start to finish.

Set in a Jellicle oversized junk yard which cleverly coverts to an ingenious steam engine and a pirate ship; we are introduced by name to a number or feline characters.  The  tribe of Jellicle Cats come together at the panicle annual ball to celebrate their ‘cattiness’ and given an opportunity for rebirth, by their wise leader Old Deuteronomy  played by Connor McAllister.

A glamour puss Grizabella played by Marianne Benedict once belong to the feline family but left for the bright lights of Tottenham Court Rd and now wants to return to the tribe. Dishevelled and worse for wear she desperately tries but continues to be ostracized and shunned.

Marcquelle Ward as Rum Rum Tugger a street Tom; not so much rock these days but more hip hop skilfully seeks attention at any opportunity through mischievous pranks whilst being admirably adored by the kittens.

Marianne Benedict as Grizabella stole the show, her delicate performance of glamour puss together with a heart rendering portrayal of the song Memory in the second act moved sections of the audience close to tears.

The trio and their catty tales; Skimleshanks the railway cat, the mysterious Macvity and Mr Mistoffelees the magical cat exquisitely performed again and again; vocals and choreography were equally superb.

A cast of over 25 strong each one characterised their own identity; with remarkable mannerisms, excellent athleticism, sharp artistic transfer through dance and acrobats. The amazing costumes and face paint gave incredible premier performances by all. It was made to feel more real as the feline characters swiftly swooped in and out of the audience, Sophia McAvoy as ‘White Cat’ was magnificent and so life like as she purred and sniffed around my bag.

The stage was equally compelling the lifelike designs of the oversized junk spilled over into the audience, the scene changes seamless, whilst the smoke effect below the floating tyre was amazing.

This performance invites you to experience star quality entertainment.

JTKL 4.5 /5 Stars

The CATS the musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre 25th – 29th October 2016. Tickets can be purchased at www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes  or by calling the Box Office on 0844 871 7652