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THEATRE REVIEW: FTN reviews Cats at the Grand Opera House, Belfast

November 7th, 2013 by Big Phil Comments

The Grand Opera House, Belfast
From Tue 05 Nov – Sat 16 Nov 2013
Book tickets and more info here

The Memory Returns! Don’t miss Cats, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s extraordinary record-breaking, smash-hit musical as it returns to the Grand Opera House Belfast for two weeks only!

Adapted from TS Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’, this wonderful blend of fantasy, drama and romance is set on the night that the Jellicle Cats meet for the Jellicle Ball in a sparkling fusion of music, dance and verse.

The musical Cats, with such characters as Old Deuteronomy, MungoJerrie and Rumpleteazer, Grizabella, Rum Tum Tugger and Mistoffelees to name but a few, is set on the one night in the year where Jellicle Cats come out to play and hold their annual Jellicle Ball.

Over the course of this magical night, all of the cats will have their moment to shine and perhaps find a little romance under the silvery moon. But beware. Macavity is around the alley ways and he is never up to anything good…

Since 1981, Cats has been playing to theatres all around the world with audiences tapping in rhythm to the felines prancing on stage, and this performance proves that a cat certainly has more than nine lives.

The cast were truly superb in both vocal and dance performance. Whether they were slinking sexually on the stage or running through the audiences and causing mischief, it is safe to say that no-one was left out from their magical experience.

The music, thankfully, has been left untouched and you can feel the power and influence as the late seventies inspired the orchestration from synthesisers to jazz flute and saxophone. The songs still sound as fresh today as they were 30 years ago, with Memory still soaring through the rafters.

The set design was also inspiring. The main stage had every nook and cranny filled with over-sized junk such as water pipes, car boots, tires, and general rubbish. What was inspiring was that it was so well designed for the cast to crawl and dart in between each of the set props that it somehow made the stage feel alive. Added to this were steps on either side for the cast to physically engage the audience as they played their little pranks.

It was in this interaction that you could see and appreciate the details of both costume and make-up. Thanks to the invention of the leotard, without it I doubt there would ever have been the musical, the audience can see the bright colours of cat hair and details in the paws that add individuality to each character. The makeup too is quite powerful in that up close it allows the audience to meet the actor’s gaze and see their whiskers, as opposed to some latex mask.

Cats is without doubt the musical performance of the year and it’s great to see that a show that has won countless awards has been left untouched and yet still manages to surprise the audience. In that alone, the cast and crew should be applauded.

A must see!

5 out of 5 Nerds






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I arrived on Earth in 1977 and have virtually devoted my entire existence to cult films, television programmes and cartoons. I am a very big fan of Star Wars and Star Trek; I may struggle with foreign languages but I can order live Gagh in Klingon! I’m the Nerd that knows the trivia but I’m hopeless at sport!

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