Energetic and Repetitive: CATS

2013 Photo©Paul Lyden

2013 Photo©Paul Lyden

presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on the poetry by Thomas Stearns (T. S.) Eliot
Directed/choreographed by Richard Stafford
Music directed by Milton Granger

August 20th – September 1st, 2013
North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
North Shore Music Theatre Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook, Kate Lew Idlebrook and Clara Idlebrook

Reviewer’s Note: The Idlebrook clan took in “Cats.” Rather than have either regular reviewers Kate Lew Idlebrook or Craig Idlebrook write the review, it was decided to hold a roundtable discussion that would include their daughter, Clara Idlebrook, age 7 11/12ths. The first attempt of the review was accidentally erased by Craig. This review is the transcript of the second discussion.

Craig: This is recording, right?

Kate: No.

Craig: No?

Kate: Uh, maybe. Let me see.

Craig: It looks like it’s recording.

Kate: Are you recording? Yes, it’s recording. You can see because the little needle is going.

Craig: Okay, we have two reviewers from New England Theatre Geek and a new reviewer. Kate Lew Idlebrook, a veteran New England Theatre Geek reviewer, and we have Craig Idlebrook, who is a veteran reviewer, and we have Clara Idlebrook.

Clara: Not a reviewer at all.

Craig: Well, you’re reviewing today.

Kate: A 7 and 11/12ths reviewer.

Craig: That’s right. Okay, so last night we went and saw the show Cats at the North Shore Music Theatre. I guess, first off, give me your general takes on the show.

Clara: My general take was it was pretty boring because they always did the same songs over and over again. And the Jellicle ball, twice? No thanks.

Kate: I thought the costumes were nice…

Clara: Me, too.

Kate: …and the dancing was interesting. I did find it a bit repetitive.

Craig: Repetitive, yeah. I think I would agree with you.

Clara: What’s repetitive?

Craig: It means it goes…the same thing happens over and over again.

Clara: This was repetitive.

Craig: What’s that?

Clara: This was repetitive because we’re recording it twice.

Craig: That’s right. We’re recording this twice because I was incompetent the first time. It does seem like….I really enjoyed the cast. They were an energetic cast. I cannot stand this show. I didn’t realize I couldn’t stand this show. I hope I never see Cats again because it’s not really a show. I mean, what were you saying about it not being a musical?

Clara: It wasn’t a musical. It was song after song after song. It was just repetitive songs. And there was one guy who was like a rock star cat? (Rum Tum Tugger) I hated him.

Craig: Hmmm…you didn’t like that character.

Clara: Uh-uh.

Craig: What didn’t you like about him?

Clara: He was like, “Me, me, me, me me, me.”

Craig: Mmm-hmmm. What did you think about that character?

Kate: I mean, as a person, that’s maybe not my favorite, but I thought he was kind of fun. I thought the cast was very strong. It was a very strong performance.

Craig: Energetic.

Kate: It was energetic, well-choreographed, the songs were all good, the singers were strong. But, no, it lacks real plot. I have to say I think my favorite characters were the burglar cats.

Craig: We were just talking about them, too. We were listening to them again.

Clara: Mungojerrie?

Craig: Yeah, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer.

Kate: Runklejerry and Rumpleteazer.

Clara: (speaking slowly) Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer.

Craig: I think you’re right. I really like that piece, too.

Clara: Though I didn’t like that Rumpleteazer was like, “I want attention.”

Craig: I think that was more in the YouTube version than what we saw last night.

Clara: She was like, “And”. She pushed him off.

Craig: She was pretty silly. What about the set? How’d we feel?

Clara: Nice.

Kate: It was an interesting set.

Craig: Yeah?

Kate: Yeah.

Craig: I felt like it didn’t really do anything for me, I have to say. I just feel like it came up a little bit and then didn’t do anything.

Kate: It was pretty minimalist.

Craig: Yeah.

Kate: But I think it was minimalist because the theater is so small. Or the stage in the theater is so small. They didn’t have a lot of space. There was a lot of dancing and a lot of dancers on the stage. If they had much more of a set, they wouldn’t have had room for all the dancers.

Craig: It’s true, it’s true. They had a lot of dancers. They could have used a bigger space.

Kate: Sometimes, I think I feel that way. I generally really like North Shore Music Theatre’s productions, but this is not the first time I felt like they need a bigger stage to contain them.

Craig: Now, Clara, if you could give…the guy who wrote the music for this, Andrew Lloyd Webber, if you could sit down and talk with him, what would you say you’d like to have changed about this play?

Clara: I’d like to make it actually a musical to have actual words, actually! Less dancing, and not the Jellicle ball twice.

Craig: Okay, sounds good. So I think we’re sort of in agreement that Cats isn’t exactly our favorite show.

Kate: It seemed like, it actually seems more in a way that Cats would be more at home in a ballet stage.

Craig: I can see it. There were a lot of ballet moves.

Kate: If it was billed as a ballet…

Clara: I’d be fine.

Kate: …I think, then you don’t expect plot. You don’t expect a lot of words.

Craig: I agree. Unless anyone else has something else to say….

Kate: I guess I would say if you’re a fan of Cats, go see this production because it was a great production.

Craig: Of course, it’s closing today.

Clara: If you’re not a fan of Cats and just wondering what it’s like, I suggest don’t go to it.

Craig: Okay, well thank you very much.

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