BWW Review: CATS at Rai Theater Amsterdam: the Cats are back in town!
Cats is a world wide phenomenon. Premiering in 1981 in the West End, Andrew Lloyd's Webber classic has proven to stand the test of time. In 2019, a Cats film is coming out.
This winter in The Netherlands, a new Cats tour by the current West End cast is playing 4 big venues: at the Rai Theater in Amsterdam, Nieuwe Luxor Theater in Rotterdam, Chassé Theater in Breda and Martiniplaza Theater in Groningen.
The Jellicle cats are celebrating their annual Jellicle cat ball, where one cat gets chosen to be reborn and start a new life. Old Deuteronomy, the old and wise cat who chooses the lucky cat, gets kidnapped by criminal cat Macavity. The tribe has to work together to free him. Grizabella the glamour cat, who has travelled long and far, returns home that night. The tribe doesn't want anything to do with her, until Old Deuteronomy picks her to be reborn and ascend into the Heaviside Layer.
Cats is a production in which dance, movement and song is the most important. The ensemble, or let's say, the tribe is beyond talented. Acrobatics, ballet, jazz, magic and the musical brilliance of Andrew Lloyd's Webber make this an performer's dream to be a part of this show. Though I fully appreciate the difficulty of dance and song, and not in the least the execution of it (like I said, beyond talented cast), Cats just doesn't do it for me.
Known critique is that the plot is really thin, and I agree. It just feels random. We introduce every cat, Grizabella sings her showstopper Memory, and gets chosen to reborn. Basic plot. There's no room for further character development. There's no apparent reason why Old Deuteronomy choses Grizabella, a part from that he pities her, which he seems to show by nodding to the tribe, who then go to touch her, as a sign of welcoming her back. Was there any competition at all? The story doesn't elaborate.
Regardless, Cats has been entertaining audiences for more than 30 years now, and especially children must be mesmerized by the beauty, magic and the Cats themselves.
For more info and tickets: www.catsdemusical.nl