Perched high above the song standard for any female singer is the moving soliloquy, ‘Memory’ – sung by Grizabella , the Glamour Cat who recounts her former glamorous days, which contasts starkly to her current down-trodden state, as she petitions for a chance to be reborn to new life to live all over again with perhaps greater significance.
The song from the musical remains one of the top few classic and instantly-recognizable songs for virtually anyone who loves music. Here’s a chance to hear the song performed live with the entire cheery ensemble of CATS The Musical, back in Singapore again after 6 years (they last performed here at the Esplanade to sold out audiences in 2009).
CATS, adapted from Andrew Llyod Webber’s personal favourite collection of classic children’s poem ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ by TS Elliot. It tells the imaginative tale of a tribe of Jellicle Cats as they gather together for the annual Jellicle Ball, and one by one tell their stories, hoping to be picked by Old Deuteronomy for the chance to ascend to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn to a new life. As a musical, CATS has been seen by over 70 million people, over 26 countries and in 14 different languages. Between 1987-2006, it was the longest running show in Broadway, surpassed only by another Lloyd Webber classic –Phantom of the Opera. Today, it continues to draw in the crowds and remains one of the top shows in both West End & Broadway…and we know just why.
The costume, make-up and theatrical setup are a feast for the eyes. The intricately designed costumes are made with seemingly random yet perfectly blended patterns and colour, portraying an eclectic collection of junkyard cats. The sleek, energetic dance routines is another show-stopper: No musical has ever demanded their actors to be mimicking every feline purr, stroke and pounce from start to finish with a mix of modern jazz, lyrical topped with the grace of a poised ballerina. All this without even mentioning the spectacular lighting effects and the memorable music and songs. From the infectious ‘Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats’ to the moving ‘Memory’, the playful ‘Mr. Mistoffelees’ to the grand hymns sung by OldDeuteronomy, they are all masterpieces in their own right. To be able to hear them masterfully performed ‘live’ and ‘interact’ with some of these CATS in person is a sensory treat not to be missed.
On the metaphorical level, the jury is still out on whether there is a deeper meaning to Elliot’s poem and to Andrew Llyod Webber’s adaptation here. Do the close mimicry of human behavior, characteristics or even the choosing of Grizabella denote a nobler meaning to existence – that of mercy prevailing over merits, of penitence over accomplishments? Millions of audiences worldwide are left to decide because it was never explicitly made known. Therein lies the cat-like mysteries of life itself. Not that we mind after experiencing this enigmatic yet exhilarating musical.
CATS is performing in Singapore from 09 January till 1 February 2015 at the MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands. This is musical theatre at its best and purest form – with no change in its main backdrop yet demanding the highest in acting, singing and dancing from its cast which, for the Singapore edition, does the classic proud by absolutely holding the entire play together, tight as a ball of yarn.
Here are some tips on how you and your family can get more out of the musical:
1. Bring a binoculars to watch the costume designs and make-up up close.
2. Count the different type of cats in the catchy Prologue: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats. Can you think of someone who may resemble each different type of cat?
3. Consider why was Grizabella was chosen over all the other more lively and ‘successful’ cats?
4. Listen and learn to sing the song ‘Memory’.
5. Listen to all the other songs from CATs the musical over YouTube and singalong with lyrics downloaded from sites such as http://www.allmusicals.com/c/cats.htm
Tue – Fri: 8pm
Sat: 2pm & 8pm
Sun: 1pm & 6pm
Disclaimer: We were invited to the Gala Premier of CATS for the purposes of this review. All opinions are ours and all photos are copyrighted to Base Entertainment Asia. Pop over to A Pancake Princess to review more reviews of CATS!