Cats opened on the west end back in 1981, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and being based on Old Possums Book of Practical Cats (1939) by T.S Elliot. It was the West Ends 4th longest running show closing back in 2002.
It premiered at the New London theatre but there was trouble as Dame Judi Dench who had initially been cast as Grizzabella snapped a tendon in rehearsals. The role was subsequently taken over by Elaine Paige.
My main issue with the show and 1998 film is that the story line is weak. I normally love shows which are all in recitative (sung all the way through with very few/ no spoken script) such as Les Miserables, Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar…but not this one. The story basically follows a group of cats (surprise surprise !!) who are part of a group called the Jellicle tribe and the audience is informed that the lead cat Old Deutronomy will choose an old cat to be reborn in the ‘heavy side layer’ Aside from this there is the ‘villain cat’ Macavity who is a master criminal and never found at the scene of the crime. Grizzabella is the oldest cat within the group and is an outcast as she is shabby. She is the chosen one to be reborn in the heavy side layer That’s pretty much it apart from some dancing and entertainment from the rest of the cast. The show is an empty shell compared to many others.
I have to say that I think John Partridge who now plays Christian in Eastenders is amazing as Rum Tum Tugger as he is a fantastic all round performer. He and Elaine Paige are the real stars of the show.
LES MISERABLES IN CONCERT THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY
This has to be one of my LEAST favourite versions of Les Miserables. It was really hyped up and made to sound like it would be incredible…well in my opinion it really wasn’t. Some of the cast were excellent for example Matt Lucas as Thenardier , Katie Hall as Cosette and Ramin Karimloo as Enjolras I felt were the real stars of the show. I find Samantha Barks annoying as Eponine-she looks far too ‘clean cut’ to play the rough character of Eponine for one. She has a great ‘belting’ voice but I don’t really rate her as a singer.
Oh god and as for Nick Jonas (ARRRGH! need I say more??!!) I only heard negative feedback about him after the concert saying that he was way out of his comfort zone. What ever possessed Cameron Mackintosh to cast a 17 year old with very little west end experience alongside “legends” such as the phenomenal Lea Salonga I will never know. Having said that many expected Gareth Gates not to pull of the role of Marius in the 25th anniversary tour…he well and truly proved everyone wrong. He was sensational! It was Nick Jonas’s slightly frightened rabbit in the headlights/awkward facial expressions that really put me off. He struggled to hold long and powerful notes just about scraping a mediocre performance of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables together” (by the skin of his teeth) It has to be said Jonas ruined the concert for me. There were so many other actors who could have played the role…why choose him?? Probably to sell more tickets! What a let down !!
I have never really been a fan of this show. I haven’t actually seen it live but I have watched the 1996 film starring Madonna as Eva Peron, Jonathon Price as Peron and Antonio Banderas a fair few times. The music is pretty good I don’t know what it is. I think it’s just the fact that I’m not very keen on 1930’s style musicals, they always seem quite dark and miserable (that’s just my opinion)
It’s a piece of history so the storyline is a strong one following the life of Eva Peron who starts out as a nobody, coming from a poor family in Argentina. She becomes a prostitute at a very young age (15-16?) The style follows her gradual rise to fame and fortune throughout her life.
I like Madonna’s voice but it sounds quite weak in this even though its pleasant to listen to. Antonio Banderas is fantastic as Che Guevara though and plays the role of a storyteller brilliantly.
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
4 words…. complete and utter CHEESE !! Its like where’s the crackers?? Vanessa Hudgens plays a far too good to possibly be true goody two shoes Gabriella which is cringeworthy. She can sing, I just don’t like her voice its irritating and sounds quite babyish even though its obvious that she’s had a LOT of training . The acting is irritating and too over exaggerated and follows a very typical storyline :
- Troy meets Gabriella at a party on New Years eve
- They go back to school and meet again as Gabriella is a new student there
- They both audition for the same school musical
- Both are asked to go for a ‘call back’ against Sharpay and Ryan who are brother and sister and get the lead part every single year
- Surprise surprise guess who gets the parts…. Troy and Gabriella !!!
MAMMA MIA- 2008 film
Mamma Mia is almost as equally cringe-worthy as the last musical. As many people have said it was okay until Pierce Brosnan opened his mouth and attempted to sing…he was dreadful. Colin Firth just about gets away with the singing. The female singers are much stronger and I have to say that Meryl Streep’s singing performance as Donna was good considering she is not a trained vocalist. To be honest though the show is designed to be quite gimmicky anyway. I’m just not a fan. I find Amanda Seyfried annoying and an actress…I feel that she over acts half the time but she does have a lovely voice. That’s the problem with making film adaption of musicals they have to pick famous people to be in them…but then how many of the people chosen can actually sing well??
I saw a touring production of Starlight Express in Manchester back in 2004. It had the potential to be spectacular but as a touring production it really didn’t work. It was really Americanized and featured 3D projections which took away from the excitement as in the London Production it was made famous by the fact that the cast skate into the audience. The high energy races were pre-filmed which was disappointing. It ran from 24th March 1984-12th January 2002 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London. The costumes were pretty impressive and the music was fairly catchy but in my opinion it wasn’t one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best pieces of work.
Well that’s my opinion…what do you think?