CATS, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne
This is the fourth time I have seen Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical based on T.S.Elliot’s Old Possum Book of Practical Cats but I do not remember seeing such an excellent production as the one that is playing at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne until May 31.
To be honest, I forgot I was in a provincial seaside town. I thought I was in a West End theatre.
The choreography by Gillian Lynne is absolutely amazing and the talented dancers do not just dance they sing superbly as well.
As soon as you walk into the auditorium you are faced with a fascinating set designed by John Napier. It is the scrapyard where the Jellicle Cats are gathering to prepare for the Jellicle Ball.
Anyone who has ever owned a cat will see the dancers have all the mannerisms of a cat and are totally convincing. They interact with the audience all the time. You can be reading your programme at the end of the interval and you will suddenly find a cat peering over your shoulder.
Several cast members have played their parts in the West End production, like Nicholas Pound, who played Old Deuteronomy in London for over two years and on two international tours, so we are very lucky to have him in the role in Eastbourne. He has a great singing voice and is perfect casting for the old cat.
Sophia Ragavelas has played leads in several West End musicals and she tears at your heart strings as Grizabella, the once glamorous cat who has now grown old and is shunned by the other cats. She also has a brilliant voice and when she sings the show’s most famous song Memory it send shivers down your spine.
This is a show not to miss as you won’t see a better musical and Eastbourne is privileged to have it. The energy and enthusiasm everyone puts into their performances richly deserved the cheers they received at the end.
By Amanda Wilkins