18-23 July 2016
Reviewed by Claire Turner
Finding out I had tickets to watch Cats at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend was very exciting – I had never managed to see it in the West End despite always wanting to.
Parking is easy – free parking on the seafront after 6pm, a lot of stairs to climb but loads of outdoor seating to take your drinks to from the bars inside.
There was nobody famous playing any of the parts but you would have thought a few of them were – the acting and singing throughout was second to none.
Cats is based on T.S Eliot’s ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.’ On one night of the year, all cats of the Jellicle gang meet at the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy (their wise leader) announces which of them will go up to the ‘heaviside layer’ and be reborn into a new Jellicle life.
The stage is set as a junk yard and the orchestra were hidden but brilliant! All the costumes were amazing and so many different species of Jellicle cats. The whole show is choreographed from start to finish with the exception of a couple of ‘older’ cats. There were songs I’d never heard of (all sung very well and enjoyable) but then there was Memory – what a voice Grizabella (played by Marianne Benedict) has, there was a snippet of the song at the end of the first half but it was during the second half of the show that the song was sung fully – various cast member sung a part and all were wonderful. Mungojerrie (played by Joe Henry) and Rumpleteaser (played by Emily Langham) played a great double act – with acrobatics and a dance routine, a lively song with a big round of applause. Rum Tum Tugger, a playful prankster with a hip hop dance routine – great moves and singing. Mr Mistoffelees, the conjuring cat, with acrobatics & magic tricks! There are too many cats to mention and I don’t want to spoil the show.
Some parts of the show felt dated eg. The Hip Hop song with Rum Tum Tugger felt very 80’s but then it is over 30 years old! I would highly recommend for adults and children to watch.
Cats is at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend until 23 July 2016, for more information or to book tickets visit www.southendtheatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.
Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7RA | 01702 351135