Review: Cats, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Ipswich Regent until Saturday December 14

Alicia Beck as Victoria in Cats, at the Ipswich Regent. Pictures: Alessandro Pinna

Alicia Beck as Victoria in Cats, at the Ipswich Regent. Pictures: Alessandro Pinna - Credit: Archant

A timeless slice of theatre magic has taken up residence at the Ipswich Regent this week and after 30 years on the boards it still sparkles.

Melissa James as Bombalurina in Cats, at the Ipswich Regent. Picture: Alessandro Pinna

Melissa James as Bombalurina in Cats, at the Ipswich Regent. Picture: Alessandro Pinna - Credit: Archant

A timeless slice of theatre magic has taken up residence at the Ipswich Regent this week and after 30 years on the boards it still sparkles.

This West End touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne still looks and sounds as fresh as it did when it first graced the stage of the New London Theatre in 1981.

It was a thrilling sight to see the Regent stage crammed with lithe, athletic cats dancing in front of a junk yard, which spilled out off the stage and mingled with the edges of the auditorium. The cast frequently nipped off the stage and scamped through the aisles, mingling with the audience, singing as they went.

The atmospheric lighting also allowed, when necessary, the marvellous moggies to silently disappear into the nooks and crannies of the set, settling into the shadows until the moment to reappear was signalled by a change in the score provided by the small, but full-sounding, touring orchestra.


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The song Memory maybe the hit from the show but the Elaine Paige powerhouse ballad is something of a one song medley. When you see the show and the hear the song in context, you realise that the famous song that we know and love is a combination of various fragments which Lloyd Webber has woven through the whole show. Seeing Cats again after many years also triggered memories of other standout numbers including The Jellicoe Ball, Skimbleshanks, Macavity and the tour-de-force Mr Mistoffelees.

It’s a huge production and you really do get a sense of the West End in both performance levels and the complex sound and light show.

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This is a pioneering piece of dance-theatre which combines lyrical athleticism with some superb vocal prowess and sends audiences out into the night with a huge smile on their faces and an excited buzz in the air.

A stunning piece of timeless theatre and a wonderful prelude to Christmas. Although tickets are virtually down to returns, catch it if you can. You won’t be disappointed.

Andrew Clarke

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