Preview – CATS

Coming soon to a cat flap near you…

CATS musical new production show theatre UCLU

UCL seem to have a knack for strenuously dragging out the dusty, forgotten memories from the performing arts archives, putting their own twist on it and turning it into something spectacular. Take the recent production of Acante et Cephise; rave reviews for an opera that, let’s face it, has been so rarely performed for a reason. So you’ll be pleased to know that we’re at it again, but this time with a delight from the murky dustbin of discarded musical theatre. Can somebody give me an ANDREW-LLOYD-WEBER? Because CATS, the 80s hit musical, is coming to UCL.

Written, choreographed and staged by the UCLU Pet Soc, this production promises to be a plethora of power-ballads, plies and purr-fected acting. But how are this group of students planning to ensure that their production does not tumble off the Bloomsbury stage?

I asked the society’s President, Felix T.C. Maxwell, what his grand plans were; “Wait, you’re from The Buzz? No, no I was not involved in the G8 scandal…” I later found out from the play’s director, Tabatha McMilkin, how they were intending to breathe some much needed life into this somewhat out-dated musical, and the moment she revealed to me this innovative yet deceptively simple idea, I realised why Andrew Lloyd Weber had failed all those years ago. Why hadn’t anyone thought of it before? Using cats to play the cats in CATS.

“The UCLU Pet Society has two purposes…” Tabatha continued, “…to allow animal lovers to meet and socialise with one another in a caring, open environment, as well as evolving the bond between a pet owner and their pet."  Vocal talents will, of course, be humanly provided behind the scenes by the UCLU Backing Singers Society, but all the drama, all the excitement, will be carried out on stage by our experienced and fully domesticated feline friends.

There are some famous faces amongst the UK’s first all animal cast, as the UCLU Pet Soc is proud to announce that this production will feature 8 of the 9 cats wrapped up like burritos. You can look forward to all your favourite numbers, such as Memory, Mr Mistoffelees, Macavity: the Mystery Cat, and some other songs that don’t start with M. But they have also added a few new songs and scenes to put some bite back into the show, some of which I had the privilege to preview last week. My favourite has to be the Lord-of-the-flies-esque hunting scene, where a tribe of rabid, ferocious cats chase a poodle to the death, and subsequently break out into an impressive rendition of “I got 99 problems but the bitch ain’t one.”

But Pet Society isn’t as cute and cuddly as it may seem. Our sources have exclusively (EXCLUSIVELY) informed us that there have been a number of internal divisions over the choice of this year’s production. Lassie and Finding Nemo were initially clear favourites amongst society members for their annual show, but President, Felix T.C. Maxwell, campaigned hard and eventually claimed victory. However, this has caused unnecessary tension as the committee’s spokesperson tells u:

 “It’s been a hard year for Pet Soc, especially following the recent ‘excessive-stroking’ allegations. But we are hoping that once the rest of the society and UCL see the hard work and talent that have gone into this production; all will be forgiven and forgotten.”

Auditions will be held next term for secondary roles, so if you think your pet is up to scratch, look out for more information. But otherwise, be sure you don’t miss what I would undoubtedly say is the best UCLU production to date. And keep checking The Buzz as we will keep you posted on all CATS related rehearsals and news updates. Will the fish owners start a revolution? And what happened to that last cat wrapped up like a burrito? Only time will tell…