REVIEW: Cats, Milton Keynes Theatre
It might be one of the longest running shows in the West End and on Broadway, but it is also still one of the best.
Cats is on at Milton Keynes Theatre this week and is an all-singing, all-dancing spectacular from start to finish.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking 2015 Olivier award-nominated musical Cats, based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, first returned to the West End in December 2014 reuniting the original creative team of director Trevor Nunn, associate director and choreographer Gillian Lynne, designer John Napier and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It takes place on the night of the Jellicle Ball when the Jellicle cats meet to find out who Old Deuteronomy, their wise and respected leader, will choose to go up to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.
Cats received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981 where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances.
Since then, Cats has been presented in more than 30 countries, has been translated into 10 languages and has been seen by more than 50 million people worldwide.
The Lloyd Webber score includes Memory, which features on numerous occasions during the show but was at its most powerful, while still beautifully controlled, right at the end of the performance when it gave me goosebumps.
But all of the other well-known and well-loved numbers are there too, including The Old Gumbie Cat, Bustopher Jones, Macavity, Mr Mistoffelees and Old Deuteronomy.
Without any human characters, the show is presented by the cast of cats as one, nearly uninterrupted, dance sequence.
The choreography is exquisite and embraces a range of styles, including ballet, tap and modern.
With a live orchestra too, the talented cast exudes huge energy and acrobatic flair while also encapsulating the traits and mannerisms of our four-legged friends, which leaves the audience captivated in so many ways.
Anyone going to see the show should be prepared to be nuzzled by one of the tribe of felines as they dance and sing their way up and down the alleyways of the auditorium at various intervals.
And I haven’t even mentioned the costumes, which are stunning, and the eye-catching make-up which must take hours to perfect before each performance.
Whether you saw Cats when it first came out or have never experienced the musical extravaganza, now is the time to revisit it or try it for the first time.
It might be a global phenomenon, but it is here on your doorstep until Saturday, October 29, with ticket prices from £15.
Evening performances start at 7.30pm, with matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm.
Anyone with tickets is advised to arrive in good time as no-one is allowed into the auditorium during the first 20 minutes of the performance - and it’s definitely worth getting there in time for this.
For tickets go to www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or call 0844 8717652.