Monday, August 07, 2006

Spandex Bodysuits and T.S. Eliot

The poet T.S. Eliot once commented that the works of Irish dramatist and write Bernard Shaw were much improved once set to music.

I wonder if he'd share a similar opinion about the musical CATS , based on his own Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats . Whatever else he might think, one imagines that Mr. Eliot couldn't help but goggle at all the flying fur and psychedelic spandex bodysuits.

The local Rainbow Youth Theatre showed off their version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS this week and I went Friday night. It was a sold-out show.

I have to say right up front that I'm a sucker for musicals. I'm not looking for sophistication necessarily. I just want to be merrily entertained . And I was.

CATS is light on plot, but big on energy, acrobatics, and well-crafted dance choreography. In a nutshell, an enormous number cats are gathering under the moonlight for the annual Jellicle Ball . The set resembles a sort of junkyard with culverts and ramps and ledges.

The Jellicle Cats await the arrival of their beloved leader Old Deuteronomy who will name one cat worthy of journey to the Heaviside Layer , there to begin a different Jellicle life. It's a little sketchy, but one is left to presume that this is a good thing, as the cats vie with one another to introduce themselves and their individual merits.

We meet Skimbleshanks, Gus the Theatre Cat,Mr. Mistoffelees, Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer, Grizzabella the elderly Glamour Cat and a host of other felines. At times there were fifty dancers cavorting on stage. There were magic tricks, a kidnapping, a pirate ship, and catburglars. Also, there were a few people I knew up there on stage and I think that always adds an element of fondness for a show.

There was ballet, tap-dancing, cat-suited people leaping down from dreadfully high stage-props and all sorts of back-flips across the stage. And I'm still catching myself humming that one about MagicalMarvellous Mister Mistoffelees two days later.

My mom leaned over during the performance and whispered that this was sure to be a musical my friend Tai, a girl notoriously skeptical of the merits of musicals, would enjoy. Well, I might not go so far as to recommend it to Tai, but it did have pirates, well, er, you never know.


Tai said...

Singing and dancing pirate cats named "Skimbleshanks" in psychedelic spandex bodysuits?!

Where do I sign up!!

(Acutally, Skimbleshanks COULD be a cool pirate name. But that's as far as I'll go.)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

'Cats' is not something I've seen, but I know has been going many years.

Grant said...

Did anyone get clawed to death onstage? It sounds like this poofy affair may have a depressing lack of wholesome violence.

Pol* said...

Actually I like musicals too, my fave HAS to be Fiddler on the Roof though. Some light-hearted romantic comedy always gets my attention.

Dagoth said...

Hi Spider

I haven't been to a play in a very long time, but they have a magical quality that can't be duplicated...

I really love the way you give such a vivid synopsis of plays that you go to...

blackcrag said...

I have always been amazed at the huge amount of talent that comes form such a small geographical and demographical space. It is truly amazing.

Crystal said...

"CATS" is one musical that I never got around to seeing but would love watch. This fall I will definitely be hitting the theatre.