Art and Performing Arts Review

Review: 'Cats' the musical

By Zaki JufriEvents - 17 January 2015 12:00 AM | Updated 19 January 2015

Review: 'Cats' the musical

Our Rating

4/5 Stars

Actor Martin Croft exclaimed: “’Cats’ is ‘Cats’. There is nothing just like it.”

Indeed, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical about a motley crew of singing-and-dancing cats is a strange four-legged beast: you either love it or you don’t get it at all.

For one, there is no discernible story – nary a line of dialogue and scarcely a plot.

””
Erin Cornell is Grizabella | Photo: Base Entertainment Asia

For the uninitiated, ‘Cats’ is drawn from the whimsical verse of TS Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ and a few other choice bits of the poet’s works, all arranged in a dozen or so vignettes. 

The Jellicle Cats gather once a year to hear who will be chosen by their leader, Old Deuteronomy (Croft), to journey to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn into a new life, after the nine they've already spent. One by one, the cats take the stage to make their case for rebirth in song and dance.

Last played here in 2009, ‘Cats’ is back for a limited run at the Mastercard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands now till 1 February 2015.

Speaking like some sagely leader, Croft told inSing: “It’s quite subliminal, like meditation. To better understand this musical, you need to calm down and think of things in a better way, then everything will be better at the end.”

Perhaps. If not, the dance, music and poetry may see you through if you cannot reach that "higher" state of mind.

Jo-Anne Robinson’s choreography is breathlessly executed. It is amazing to see the cast take on cat-like characteristics on stage, crawling, slinking, grooming and sometimes even kneading other cats. 

Actress Erin Cornell said that she observes how her cat Mimi behaves around her as well as watching the wealth of cat videos on YouTube for research.

There are plenty of knockout singing and – to borrow from TS Eliot – "terpsichorean" fun to be had with this show.

Cornell plays Grizabella, a former-glamour-puss-turned-pariah who belts out a poignant and heartfelt version of ‘Memory’, the musical’s famous anthem which alone probably justifies the ticket price.

Earl Gregory (left) is Rum Tum Tugger | Photo: Base Entertainment Asia

The quick-footed Earl Gregory is just dazzling as the flamboyant Rum Tum Tugger, channelling a rock-and-rolling feline Prince and Freddie Mercury.

Dominique Hamilton and Brent Osborne’s cat burgling duo Rumpleteazer and Mungojerrie are a delight to watch, as is Christopher Favaloro’s Mr Mistofelees with his acrobatics and tricks.

Having said that, the music feels like it belongs in a Giorgio Moroder revival performance, and even the '80s electronic music legend has kept up with the times and recently worked with Daft Punk.

The mixture of retro pizzazz and kitsch may be part of the charm for fans, but more could be done to update the show for a new generation of audiences.

'Cats' the musical | Date: 9 January - 1 February 2015 | Time: 8pm Tues-Fri; 2pm, 8pm Sat; 1pm, 6pm Sun | Venue: MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue | Tickets: $65, $95, $135, $165 and $195 from Sistic  

CATS

CATS

Date Jan 09, 2015 - Feb 01, 2015

VenueMarina Bay Sands Singapore

Ticket PriceS$65.00 - S$195.00
 (excludes booking fee)