With cat-like tread fabulous felines pad into the theatre auditorium, preening and stretching before a musical cue sees them scamper off like skittish kittens.
It’s a lively start to a spectacular production of Cats by Inspirations Theatre Company and Directions Theatre Arts at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre this week.
An ambitious undertaking for an amateur cast but they take it up and run with it. Timing is spot on in a spoken verse which 40 performers have to deliver at the same time and in dance scenes featuring ballet, tap and acrobatics.
James Morgan as spinning, high-jumping magical Mistofolees and Georgia Ellis as balletic Victoria do the show’s choreographer Julie Cox proud. Natalie Hollingworth is outstanding as faded glamour puss Grizelda, singing the show’s best known song Memory with such talent. Dominic Stevenson gives Elvis a run for his money with his pelvic thrusts and singing as Rum Tum Tugger.
Gabriella Mason gives a charming, smile-inducing portrayal as the veteran, sleepy cat Jennyanydots and Ben Featherstone as main narrator Munkostrap keeps people up to speed with the strange, other-worldly story which is based on the verses in T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Cats.
Spectacular lighting and pyrotechnics help to elevate this production beyond the popular perception of amateur theatre.
Directed by Dot Clarke with musical direction by Melanie Gilbert, this production of Cats will be performed for the last time in Mansfield this evening (Saturday, September 20) at 7.30pm.
It’s back home in Chesterfield for a run at the Pomegranate Theatre in March 2015. Wonder if Andrew Lloyd Webber will send the company another supportive Tweet like he did this week?