After watching Cats The Musical for the first time as a teenager I have always felt a huge amount of affection for this clever and innovative show. I still have an original eighties t-shirt and poster along with the cassette of the soundtrack which has now been played so many times over the years, it's got a bit stretched in places.
Knowing and loving the music so well when you go to see a show can be good or bad, depending on the changes the producers have decided to make. Being true to your 'Memory' of the original show and adding something fresh and new for first time visitors is not an easy task. If achieved the results are an eclectic and joyful mix of everything you have loved. This new evolution in Cats at the London Palladium very definitely got this right!
When originally at the New London Theatre, now home to War Horse, the action was delivered partly in the round. The London Palladium doesn't facilitate this but with its vast stage and clever use of the dress circle, the junk yard setting was brought to life.
Opening with the classic 'Jellicle Cats', I was treated to some of the most spectacular dance I can remember seeing for many years. These are true athletes, who effortlessly move through the opening numbers until you truly believe you are watching felines and not humans.
Although there are numerous characters with lovely songs, star billing is always afforded to Grizabella who sings the show's most iconic song 'Memory'. Originally played by Elaine Paige, this revival opened in December 2014 with Nicole Scherzinger playing the role to critical acclaim. Having taken over only a week before, I was going to be treated to seeing another member of West End Royalty playing the lead, Kerry Ellis. Kerry is a very well known musical theatre performer having played Elphaba in Wicked and is one of my favourite singers. I've seen Kerry perform on many occasions and as expected, she didn't disappoint. Her vocals are just beautiful. Getting right into the soul of the character, and helping you to believe her lonely tale of a previously glamorous life.
Other highlights for me were the the gorgeously performed Mcavity and the magical Mr Mistoffelees who's dance solo was simply divine.
With Kerry Ellis and the rest of the amazingly talented cast, Cats at the London Palladium is not a show to be missed. Treat yourself to a Cats ticket now and become part of the clowder!