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‘Cats’ Review: Breaking the fourth wall

I’d never watched a musical before, so when my parents offered to take me to see Cats at the Civic Theatre, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The theatre was packed. I had to climb over three old women and four older couples just to get to my seat. But the theatre is beautiful and grand, and the ceiling lights reflected a starry night sky.

The musical is based on the poem by T.S Eliot and has been running since 1981. The cats are ruled over by a cat called Old Deuteronomy and it’s his job to pick the cat to go up to Heaviside Layer and be reborn as a new Jellicle Cat.

Throughout the show, we are introduced to the different members of the Jellicle tribe who might be picked to be reborn. The first song is about the opening of the Jellicle Ball and what it means to be a Jellicle Cat.

The cats routinely broke the fourth wall of theatre and ran throughout the audience, even talking directly to a man in the song Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats.

The songs were incredibly catchy and the set and the costumes were beautiful. Despite feeling somewhat confused throughout the first act, I did find myself enjoying it.

During the intermission, a beer was required. A few members of the cast, still fully dressed in costume, roamed around inside and outside the theatre.

The first act set up the show so well that I felt I knew what to expect in the second act. We met more cats, including Mister Mistoffelees, who was my favourite. He was exciting and energetic. Sophia Ragavelas, who played Grizabella, had a beautiful voice and sang an excellent rendition of Memory.

The directors have stayed true to the original show but changed Rum Tum Tugger to be a Hip-Hop a cat who breakdances and raps instead of sings, presumably to keep the musical appealing to the younger audience.

Overall it was the perfect show for someone who is new to musicals. The Civic Theatre provided the perfect setting. I even found myself looking up the songs on Youtube when I got home.

Rating: 4/5

Laura Barker
Laura is following her dreams to become a journalist. Currently studying at the New Zealand Radio Training School she also has a BA in Anthropology. She aspires to become a snow reporter and to finish watching every episode of Gilmore Girls.
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