The second instalment from the Interhall Musical Committee is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, and they have succeeded in staging a musical of very high quality. Cats is definitely not known for its plot, which had numerous people commenting at the interval, “So, well, what’s this musical actually about?”. As is typical of Lloyd Webber, this is a musical you see more for the experience and entertainment than for a deep or complex plot. Broadly, it follows a group of cats who have come together for the annual ‘Jellicle Ball’ to choose a cat to go to cat heaven or to be reborn or something. As I said, let’s forget about the plot.
The production values of this show are truly astounding. The junkyard set is well strewn with trash to provide an effective but unobtrusive backdrop for the cats. Special mention needs to go to Meg Christie and Daniel DeValentin who painted the extraordinary mural on the stage floor. The costuming and makeup must have been an enormous job and all the actors look marvellous. Lighting all of these beauties was Owen Horton, who has created a lighting design that suits the atmosphere of a junkyard while adding the extra kick that the show requires.
Casey White, Codie Bell, James Tighe and Shasha Chen have worked with their massive and talented cast to truly turn them into cats. Each of the actors inhabits their feline characters with zest. With such a huge cast, who have clearly put in so many hours, it is impossible to personally mention everyone; but Oliver Lee was a standout as Rum Tum Tugger (also scoring the best costume); Alex Fogg and Nick Beecher’s duo on ‘Gus, The Theatre Cat’ was my musical highlight of the night; and Benn Purser’s routine as Mr. Mistophelees was quite incredible.
Finally, praise and congratulations must go to Casey White who had three major roles in the production and has worked tirelessly to put the show together. Everyone should get along and check Cats, which is just another showcase of the amazing and varied theatrical talent at the ANU.
Cats is showing 8-17 August at the ANU Arts Centre.