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BEHIND THE SCENES: Lloyd Webber, Nunn and Lynne Launch CATS At The Palladium!

BEHIND THE SCENES: Lloyd Webber, Nunn and Lynne Launch CATS At The Palladium!

If you're a fan of cats, anthropomorphised cats, or simply CATS, the Palladium is the place for you this Christmas.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's epic musical, based on the poems of T S Eliot, is returning for the festive season.

And it sounds like it'll be a real occasion.

At the launch, held on the Palladium stage and attended by press, theatre folk and veteran cast members, Lloyd Webber revealed that young theatregoers will be able to have their faces painted to look like the cats, and even mentioned the possibility of a photo booth - presumably to have snaps taken with appropriately kitty backdrops.

The current UK touring cast gave a taster of the performance, but there's no word on casting yet - that'll be sorted after the summer, and Lloyd Webber is also taking the next few months to rework some parts of the score he's never been happy with. (When he said that, director Trevor Nunn rolled his eyes and pulled an appropriately shocked face.)

This, the creative team say, will be a "new edition" of the show, using the UK tour as a template.

The evergreen, effervescent Gillian Lynne will have those dancing cats well trained by December, and is already considering how the choreography might be tweaked for a new generation, drawing on the street dance genre.

Lloyd Webber is mulling over the same issue, wondering out loud whether Rum Tum Tugger might be a rapper and suggesting that Eliot's metre indicates that he invented rap as a concept.

And the rubbish tip itself will be brought up to date, with appropriately modern litter, such as discarded mobile phones.

The trio of creatives rejected the idea that bringing back old favourites was a sad indictment of the state of the West End, where new work can't find a foothold. Instead, Nunn argued, this updated version of a classic allows a new generation of youngsters to appreciate both Eliot's poems and the Lloyd Webber music.

There was no indication that the show will be necessarily lingering around the Palladium for months and years to come; Lloyd Webber emphasised the fact that the current plan is just for the limited run.

So if you're keen to see how the Jellicle Cats look in the 21st century, the legendary London Palladium will be the only place to catch them - from 6th December.

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From This Author Carrie Dunn

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