Broadway Across Canada’s production of CATS is now playing at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre until Sunday April 15th.
Based on the T.S. Eliot book of poems “Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats”, the Olivier and Tony Award winning musical tells the story of the Jellicle tribe of Cats (song: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats) as they gather under a full moon for the Jellicle Ball. Through the course of the musical we are introduced to the various Cats of the tribe and learn the individual personalities of each one. From The Old Gumbie Cat, Jennyanydots, a slightly portly tabby to a rather camp but fickle The Rum Tum Tugger, to the formerly glamourous but now shabby grey cat Grizzabella: The Glamour Cat who arrives and relives the glory days that live only in her Memory. The elder statesman of the tribe Old Deuteronomy holds court as we are introduces to other cats like Skimbleshanks: the Railway Cat and the famous and Magical Mr. Mistoffelees or the master criminal Macavity: The Mystery Cat throughout the two acts. Being an all singing and all dancing musical, with no real spoken story, the cats (and the performers therein) do a masterful job of weaving a tale out of a book of poems set to the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Being one of the longest running musicals on Broadway and The West End, many of the songs in CATS have become very familiar in popular culture even to those who’ve not seen the performance, especially Memory which has been recorded by over 100 artists. Debuting in 1981, some of the instrumentations reflect the era in style and sound as do some of the costume components, especially the leg warmers.
Overall, the music, the dancing, the costumes and set make for a pleasant family friendly evening. This touring company is in Vancouver only until April 15, tickets are still available.