last night I saw “The Irish Premier of Cats” at the Theatre Royal, Waterford and I came home with mixed feelings about the show.
first off, the cast were amazing.the choreography and execution of the dancing was sublime from start to finish and it was clear how much work and effort had gone into making the show the spectacle that it was. I was also highly impressed with the acting; break character for a split second and you’re a teenager in a leotard with facepaint on, not a cat so the necessity to gesticulate and glide across the stage like a feline is crucial to putting on a good show. I had very little to fault with the way the show was performed, aside from the fact that the stage was a bit overcrowded, leading to messy entrances/exits, and the Crown Paints can. it just looked wrong.
however, although I had been told about Cats before and entered the theatre aware that it probably wasn’t “my thing”, I was extremely surprised to see it before my eyes. Cats is a very uninteresting show. I can see the attraction to those interesting in watching dance, but other than that, I fail to see how this ran for 21 years in London. it’s obvious that it’s based on a book of poems - the show consists of songs introducing various cats and as such, never delves into the personality of any of them in great detail. there are so many characters that there are no characters, if that makes sense. which it probably doesn’t. Grizabella aside, we don’t really see any character more than once which also makes it obvious that she’s the one to be chosen to go to the Heaviside layer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the music either, although I realise that this is just a personal thing. Aside from Memory, the obvious show-stopper, I only really liked Gus’ song at the start of Act II. in many ways, I feel as though I’m missed something - that I didn’t get some key idea behind the whole thing and I’m secretly a huge culturephobe.
in summary: cats bad, cast good.