Bristol Theatre News

Cats at the Bristol Hippodrome Review

Photo:_Alessandro Pinna
Photo: Alessandro Pinna


The Bristol Hippodrome continues its run of well programmed West End hits this year, with paw purrfect Cats and its run of purrformances up until Saturday 26 October 2013.

Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, by T.S. Eliot, Andrew Lloyd Webber has managed to create a timeless classic (Oxymoron Alert) with his musical Cats, aided with Gillian Lynne’s wonderful original choreography.

It’s rather a Marmite musical, if you listen to the mutterings of the audience during the interval – very much a love or hate relationship. But if you are a doubter, take time to visit the show during its fortnight run in Bristol. It’s rare to see such a perfect marriage of music, dance, creativity and talent in one show.

Melissa James as Bombalurina and Lily Frazer as Demeter
Photo: Alessandro Pinna

Thankfully, producer David Ian has stuck faithfully to the original and with the exception of Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer, Andrew Lloyd Webber has not tried to update it.

The Hippodrome stage has been transformed into a magical rubbish dump, the setting for the Jellicle Cats’ annual  Jellicle Ball. With each musical number, we are introduced to a different cat character. The storyline follows the event at which the leader – Old Deteronomy – will choose the cat to be reborn to a new Jellicle life. Eventually, it is Grizabella, who is welcomed back into the fold after her fall from grace.

It’s a massive responsibility playing Grizabella, who must deliver eleven o’ clock number Memory.

Sophia Ragavelas’ performance was amazing, as she ripped the second half version from the depths of the character’s tortured soul.

The magic of Cats is that as well entertaining us with wonderful characters Bustopher Jones (Paul F Monaghan ) Rum Tum Tugger (Oliver Savile) and Mr Mistoffelees (Joseph Poulton) the show is as much an ensemble piece. The whole company electrify the stage, coursing through dance numbers and dashing through the auditorium. It’s a spectacular sight.

The best bit for adults revisiting the show, is that it is just as good as the first time you saw it. And even better, you can live the magic once again through the eyes of astounded children.

Cats is a fine example of musical theatre at its best and this cast does a brilliant job of inspiring the next generation of children to don the jazz shoes and backcomb the hair.


Cats The Musical is running at the Bristol Hippodrome from Tuesday 15 to Saturday 26 October 2013

Tickets from £15

Tickets: £15.00 – £45.00