Bristol Hippodrome

Cats October 2013

Having never seen Cats I was very curious to see the 1980s musical which opened at the Bristol Hippodrome this week as part of its revived 2013 tour and plays until Saturday, October 26.

It made a purr-fect night out.

A senior citizen family friend told me she wasn't keen on the show yet her 30-something daughter said it was among her favourite musicals of all time.

Leaving the theatre on Wednesday night I overheard someone say 'well I couldn't follow the story but the music and dancing were fabulous' and that about sums it up.

The first half appears to be a ballet with wacky and conventional choreography by the award-winning Gillian Lynne which includes a Tiller Girls style chorus line, tumblers galore and moves which would really impress the Strictly Come Dancing judges.

In the second half you get fireworks and fights, oh and did I mention the main character making many a foray into the audience?

Cats is really worth seeing - the set is superb, like a scene from the film Slumdog Millionaire crossed with the alley where television cartoon Top 

Cat lives and lit by a thousand roadside eyes.

The dialogue uses the whimsical poems penned by TS Eliot in Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats about ‘feline psychology and sociology’.

It is difficult to choose a character among the huge cast for star billing but Grizabella, a glamour puss on the last of her nine lives, gets a big catcall especially when she stands alone in the moonlight singing the showstopper Memory.

But what a mixed bag of moggies from kitten cats to Siamese, tabby cats to gingers all with funny names like Mungojerrie, Asparagus, Bombalurina and Jennyanydots - all the cat’s whiskers.And among them is the deceitful and suave Macavity, a fat cat – who just isn't there!

The narrative revolves around how on just one special night of the year, all Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball where their wise and benevolent leader Old Deuteronomy decides who will go up to the heaviside layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.

Music, dance and verse fuse together in an enchanting blend of fantasy, drama and romance.

Carol Deacon