‘Cats’ cast put their best paws for­ward

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON - RICHARD MAYS

Just as cats have con­quered the in­ter­net, the cast of Cats have con­quered the Re­gent on Broad­way.

Cats is a pro­duc­tion that cre­ates high ex­pec­ta­tions and de­liv­ers. In­sin­u­at­ing their way into au­di­ence af­fec­tions from be­fore the show by play­fully prowl­ing the theatre aisles, this pre­co­cious pounce of pussy­cats re­ally turn it on when the mu­sic starts.

It’s an all-lo­cal posse of singing, act­ing and danc­ing stars kit­ted out in wear­able art cos­tumes to a pre-recorded sound­track. Pity the mu­sic couldn’t be live, but the track pro­vided the com­pli­cated score with the nec­es­sary qual­ity and con­sis­tency for the vo­cal­ists and dancers to shine.

Hav­ing said this, there is still room to im­prove the dic­tion and pre­cise­ness of some cho­rus num­bers. With no real plot, it’s the in­di­vid­ual sto­ries and pus­son­al­i­ties that make up this cat­suited va­ri­ety show­case, and a few got lost in the mix.

Teesh Sz­abo’s cre­ative chor- eog­ra­phy worked a treat. It’s punchy with mo­ments of dy­namic raz­zle-daz­zle, pro­vid­ing a plat­form for cat-like move­ments, and a launch­pad for some marvel­lous and tune­ful ‘‘cat­er­waul­ing’’.

In the show, only one Jel­li­cle Cat a year can be­come ‘‘anJel­li­cle’’, but on stage, it was hard to pick be­tween the per­for­mances as each of th­ese an­thro­po­mor­phic fe­lines ‘‘au­di­tion’’ for el­e­va­tion to the Heav­i­side Layer.

And what a cast! Michael Doody’s hos­pitable and com­mand­ing pres­ence as Munkus­trap; Steve Jenkins as Gus the Theatre Cat mor­ph­ing into Growltiger the river pi­rate dur­ing the pan­tomime scene; Joanna Sale as the aged and arthritic Griz­abella per­form­ing the shows mag­num miaow-aria Mem­ory; Con­nor Allen in a show­stop­ping Mr Mistof­folees dance rou­tine; Re­becca Palmer’s pluck and poise as Deme­ter; Ash­leigh Blum­mont’s Bom­balu­rina; David Lea’s sage Old Deuteron­omy, and the bubbly dou­ble act of Nikora Lewis and Cara Hes­selin as Mun­go­jer­rie and Rumpel­teazer are among nu­mer­ous high­lights.

There’s no doubt about it - th­ese cats from Cats are uber cool.


All kit­ted out for ‘‘Cats’’, th­ese cast mem­bers are part of a great en­sem­ble ef­fort.

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