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Najuk's Stoke On Trent Cats trip report

Date and Time: Thursday 11th December 2003 7.30pm
Place: Regent Theatre - Stoke on Trent.

We got to the theatre in nice time and I bought another brochure so I could get a Cats carrier bag which they hadn't had before *grin*. I've never been to the Regent Theatre before and it's really nice actually, very big and spacious and just well, nice. We had a very good view, sat in the circle but near the front and in the middle-ish so I could see the whole stage and though it was too big for the cast to coming up to us in the songs, I liked being able to watch and see everything around the sides and overall formations and stuff again (harder from the front row).

Opened my programme for a flick through before the show started and there was Norman Bowman!!! I was just "WHAT?!!!" I really didn't know what to think, ecstatically happy if it was him but then really confused because he'd told me he was going and he hadn't been in the new cast list posted on the forums so yeah mightily confused but me and my friend going crazy thinking we would see Norman again after convincing myself I wouldn't.
Then the announcement came on saying the list of understudies, Lucy Holloway was on for Demeter and I'm sure he said Matthew Cuts for Munkustrap. Of course I was annoyed because I'd wanted to see Norman but mostly now I just want to know who it actually was. They might have said Matthew Cole but I'm sure they didn't and either ways there's no one called Matthew in the cast this time, Munkustrap's understudies are listed as Simon Adkins and Ian Stroughair.

I'm really not sure whether it was Matthew Cole or not . I think it might not have been because the actor seemed quite breathless in some parts and I would think that someone who's been playing Alonzo (who dances a lot more than Munk) for the last ten months would be used to it but maybe he's just not used to singing as well?!! Also he didn't really look like I expected Matthew Cole to in a Munkustrap costume, I mean Matthew Cole seemed to be pretty lightly built and well this guy didn't seem that way. But then, on the maybe it was Matthew Cole side, in MoH when he was sitting facing out and he looked very much like Norman Bowman and the two have quite similar facial structures and so it would make sense that he looked similar!

Anyway, the show:
In the Overture I just kept hugging my friend because she paid for the tickets, going to see Cats was my Christmas present from her!!! I think it was Jemima and Rumpelteazer running about in our area but they didn't come down by us so I couldn't see very well.

Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats - Nothing really unusual that I can remember (Well actually I can remember someone doing something funny but I can't remember who or what it was clearly enough to write about it so I'll shut up now ...)

The Naming of Cats - When they went out into the audience they all went into the stalls (like I said it's a very big theatre so they probably wouldn't have had time to get up to the circle) and here the steps from the stage had a little platform off the stage and then went down as steps and Guy Paul just crouched perfectly still on the left hand platform reciting to the same people for the whole thing looking ever so cute *hugs*. Also Skimble terrorising most of the front row was randomly funny (I'm amused by strange things). I love all their little expressions when they get to say their own name, it's so cute!!!

Jennyanydots - Not much different, but when Munk was singing the second verse he went over and sat on this red thing by the steps on the tyre (for "she sits and sits and sits") and Demeter was pawing all over him and being cute *squee*. Munk wasn't doing his normal tail guitar/airtrumpet thing which was really the first thing that made him different from Norman Bowman, I missed it though, he was just sort of standing there watching them without it. It did mean I actually watched the tap dance for once though and it's pretty damn fab!!!

Rum Tum Tugger - For some unknown reason there seemed to be less cats on stage for this one, I'm sure there wasn't in actual numbers, just me being weird. Heh heh, Guy Paul sulking is so cute and then his dancing on the boot was just crazy and wonderful.

Grizabella - Such a relief to have Bombalurina's part sung nicely *grin*.

Bustopher Jones - Both of the kittens seemed very curious about the white things on Bustopher's shoes (have forgotten the proper name *doh*) and they were very cute, crouching down and watching them and trying to get close to them but then he would move and they would scurry away and come back. They kept doing it when he was sat on the hat and Carby nearly got kicked on the nose and then Skimbleshanks told him off and so he was all cute and upset *hugs*

Mungojerrie + Rumpelteazer - Not much to say really, both were good and on the double cartwheel they kept going so far I thought they would go right off stage!!! But yeah, Mungo is weird (see below).

Old Deuteronomy - Spent most of it watching all the people lying on the floor Not sure why *shrugs* Munk and Tugger didn't do their little fisty thing *sigh*.

Pekes and the Pollicles - Not much special going on here really, Munkustrap and Rumpus Cat were pretty funny together though.

The Ball - Ahhh, I love this thing so much *swoons*. Dancing was excellent as ever, everything was absolutely magical nothing to fault whatsoever in the slightest , I think Guy Paul and Richard Curto really stole the dance with their section though Guy Paul probably stole the whole show anyway *hugs*. Tugger and Bombalurina were being all cute and huggy in the background and then she was like "I have to go dance" so she went off and he was left on his won *sniff* verrrrrry close in the mating dance though. They still do it with practically everyone as singles except Victoria and Admetus (obv.) and Tugger and Bombalurina but that was pretty much it, a couple of cats started to pair up at the front but it was too dark to see who and then the main dancing started anyway *sigh*. Someone was sick/fainted in front of us and so people kept standing up and blocking the view and such but it's still one of my favouritest parts of the entire show *grins* it just makes me want to get up there and dance myself crazy as well.

Memory - Fortunately the people in front had been moved/sat down so I didn't have any bashing to do and could sit happily in awe of Chrissie Hammond who never fails to amaze.

Moments of Happiness - When Munkustrap and Demeter came on from different sides of the stage (well Munk comes from the audience) they had a little nuzzle in the middle and then went away to their places *squee*.v Gus - Bombalurina and Tugger were curled up the oven and Demeter was lying in Munkustrap's lap by the car * squee* both couples looked very cute. Mungojerrie was lying by Old Deuteronomy instead of on top of the car like before. He was sort of sprawled there looking a bit weird, occasionally he was doing funny stuff and then he was just lying there Managed to catch all the guys creeping off to get ready for Growltiger - go me!!!

Growltiger and Bill McCaw- I love this song it's just random and great and funny and fab it's absolutely rocking!!! Patrick Clancy is wonderful and all the pirates were ace too . When Growltiger started playing Griddlebone like a piano she just looked at him as if to say "What on earth are you doing?!" and then went off in a big sulk when he continued to sing when she thought she was going to sing. Lee Lomas was very good as Ghengis and Griddlebone shrieked properly too yay, the Siamese in general were pretty cool and I think I saw Tugger getting back onstage in time for another little snuggle with Bombalurina heh heh.

Skimbleshanks - Very good, this Skimble is quite cute and playing the part quite young. Mungojerrie redeemed himself slightly in this song because he was being very cute and Mungo-ish in this song, doing the "I'm telling on you!" to Victoria and Jemima and being soooooo swe*t when he gets the 'mouse' and all that jazz so yeah, slightly better but still not as funny as some. On the pushing Cassandra out of her seat thing, Bill Bailey didn't have anything to do with it, just Carby and Rumpelteazer this time but Cassandra still didn't seem impressed in the slightest *laughs evilly*. Skimble did this very "Wallace and Gromit 'Wednesleydale Gromit?' " voice on the "Would you like your morning tea -" which was very funny.

Macavity - Huzzah for my favourite song yay yay yay!!! Very very good, both were excellent and I love it lots and lots!!! The fight was a bit different, Munk did some funny cartwheel and stuff but nothing wrong just different. Munkustrap and Demeter weren't as cute as before, I mean they were cute and still did their gorgeous nuzzle but they didn't have a little cutesy play chase fun game thing in the darkness while Tugger was singing like before and that was just the cutest thing in the world!!! So still cute just not as cute!!!

Mr Mistoffelees - Amazing. It was just F. A. B. There's nothing more I can say. I lost count of how many spins were done and the little cutesy smirk on Guy Paul's face the whole way through is enough to make anyone want to have his babies. Stuart Ramsay also super good and groovy. Perfick.

Memory - Again, absolutely tremendous. What can be said that hasn't been said before?! Chrissie rules fullstop. I was so so soooo amazingly close to crying.

Journey to the Heavyside Layer - just seems to pass me by as I'm always still reeling from the song before!

Skipping to the bows as there's not much to say about The Ad-Dressing of Cats really is there? Some bits are described below so I won't do them twice. I wanted to scream for loads of people because they were all really fab but I was with my friend's grandma I didn't know if she would think it was entirely appropriate but my friend screamed for Tugger so I decided it was okay and we both screamed loudly for Munk because whoever it was was really good. Lots of showing off twirls, Misto did nearly as many spins as before, everyone was doing fancy things and I love that. Most people ended up being carried or dragged off the stage, Tugger and Bombalurina were being all flirty and so he picked her up and whisked her away with a very wicked twinkle in his eye . Oh it's fab fab fab fab fab *sighs* and know I have to wait for aaaaaaaaaages before I can see it again *sniff* but yeah it was absolutely brilliant!


Personal Performances
I don't normally do this but it seemed to be the easiest way of writing a full report this time.

Admetus/Macavity - Simon Adkins - Can't say I really noticed him as Admetus made a cool Macavity, I think they've changed the fight a bit. Paid attention to Victoria in parts other than their dance in the Ball which was nice to see, I always thought it a bit random for Admetus to dance with Victoria and then never be with her for the rest of the musical so go him!!!

Alonzo/Rumpus Cat - Richard Peakman - Very funny as the Rumpus Cat and a very cool Alonzo, I'm not much of an Alonzo fan really, I mean he's cool there's just people I prefer, but he was good and I liked watching him and Cassandra in the background in Grizabella the Glamour Cat, also he did a roundoff flick in the bows which was cool as I've never seen an acrobatic Alonzo and I liked it *grin*

Bill Bailey - Alex Durrant - Whoever first said it is right, he is very ickle, somehow not as cute as Jay but still v.cute nonetheless. Also does amazing Acrobatics, I kept just missing the end of something and seeing him land after a somersault and I was like "What?!" He does it in the ball and then again in the Macavity, like everyone else runs when they're scared but his instinct is to do some random flip *squee*. In the bows they did everyone and he was like the grand finale, the last one and did this dudesome tumble, there isn't room for him to do much but I know it ended in a back flip almost straight sommie but there might have been and extra flip or round off at the start, hard to see when he goes so fast!!!

Bombalurina - Lisa Donmall - Wheee!!! Such a refreshing change from Emma Tunmore! Great voice and great dancer, her and Tugger were much more together in this one, snuggling in Gus and stuff it's very cute if you watch them.

Bustopher Jones/Asparagus - Patrick Clancy - Great as ever, I love him as Gus/Growltiger he's super ace!!! The bloodcurdling noise was even more pathetic than ever and he looks so pleased with himself afterwards it's adorable!!! And in Growltiger he is really into it and does literally flob/goss/drool this huge spitball on the floor, I'm so glad I wasn't sitting directly in front of that!!! But yeah, he rocks!!!

Carbucketty - Richard Curto - Very good dancing but I didn't really notice him much as Carby which is odd because when I saw him in On Your Toes he stood out (in a good way) loads but he wasn't like that at all as Carby *puzzled look* maybe when he gets into the role he will be more fabby *crosses fingers*.

Cassandra - Natalie Edmunds - Not much to say, she was very good and all but I'm really not a Cassandra fan at all and unless they're outstanding then I've barely noticed any Cassandra I've seen, I just prefer not to watch them *shrugs* nothing against the actresses, I just always find myself watching something else.

Coricopat & Tantomile (it's too hard to do them separately!) - Lee Lomas & Kate Tydman - They were very good, both sang and danced well and Lee did a fab Ghengis but not quite in sync for some parts, noticeably earlier in the show, their first entrance and stuff, but I think that this kind of thing must just take like years of practice and experience to get right and they still looked really good and the tour round the stage at the start of Act II was perfect so not much to complain about really!

Demeter - Lucy Holloway - Very good understudy, I wouldn't have known if they hadn't have said! Was very cute with Munk in some bits. Just all round greatness, she looked great, sang great, danced great, was great!!!

Grizabella - Chrissie Hammond - What can I say?! Is she ever not astounding? She's magnificent, absolutely superb every time.

Jellylorum - Karen Evans - Very much like Rebecca Vere, which is the way I like Jellylorum played else she often gets just too old and mothery but she wasn't this time, very cool.

Jemima - Claire Parrish - I liked her voice in her solos but I can't really say I noticed her much at any other times.

Jennyanydots - Sarah Bayliss - She's cute and a very funny Jenny and has this wicked grin. She was playing around a lot on the sides some v.cute/funny stuff there *grin*. Somehow though, she's just not Jenny for me. I'm weird though so...

Mungojerrie - Andrew Prosser - He was weird, there were some bits when I liked him but then sometimes he really didn't seem very Mungojerrie-ish at all. Also, I think part of what put me off was that his make up was really weird, that sounds stupid but he looked like, I don't know, some really early chorus cat or something, or I don't know just not Mungojerrie!!! He was good in some bits though but then it was just *shudders* I can't explain it ... weird.

Munkustrap - Matthew Cuts/Cole - Whoever it was playing Munk they were good, excellent voice and some nice little touches but I do miss Norman Bowman *sniffs* there was no messing about in Jennyanydots and generally it was back to serious protector Munk *sigh* , I still love Munkustrap like that but ... *trails off wistfully*

Mistoffelees - Guy Paul Ruolt de St Germain - Wow!!! I don't remember him being this cool in Wolverhampton!!! He was super cute and huggable and danced amazingly, he had all these cute little facial expressions and was clearly enjoying himself sooooooo much, there was so much energy and coolness and he was just soooooooooo fabby and wow I loved him loooooooooaaaaaddddsssssssss!!!!!!!!!

Old Deuteronomy - James Paterson - He was okay, a bit of an odd accent, I don't know if that's his real accent or he put it on and I don't know if I like it or not but yeah ... good otherwise though.

Rumpelteazer - Laura Brydon - She was a very cute and cheeky Rumpelteazer and just had a very mischievous air about her the whole show.

Rum Tum Tugger - Stuart Ramsay - He really was amazing tonight, the best I've ever seen him. The past three times it's taken me a while to get used to him but tonight he just started singing his song and I was just like "Wow!!!". I can't remember which song it was but he was standing on the oven playing the tail guitar like Norman used to in Jennyanydots, and he is very cute with Bombalurina, they are much more together now who knows why (maybe Stuart shared our feelings about Emma Tunmore *evil grin*) or if they did that stuff before then I didn't notice it but stuff like they were all curled up together in Gus and doing lots of flirty stuff in the bows and in the end he carried her off the stage v.cute. He was great before but this was just F.A.B. the greatest, brill, amazing, whatever I loved him *grin*.

Skimbleshanks - Gavin Keenan - He made a very sweet Skimble because whilst he was still doing the responsible stuff of telling off the kittens in Bustopher Jones and protecting them from Grizabella and stuff but he was also a very young Skimble and was ever so cute and happy and huggable, can't quite explain it but yeah ...

Victoria - Emily Anderson - I liked her better than normal tonight, she was really cool, looked very happy to be dancing in a lot of it and I like that.


Anyone know if they had a change in the orchestra because in some points - can't remember when but I think it was the Ball and Mistoffelees - there were some amazing guitar parts and other bits that I hadn't noticed previously so I was just wondering whether this was new or me being stupid???
Overall I think the cast were great but I would really like to see them in a few months when they've gotten more used to it and I'd love to see how they've all improved and see if some of them have started to have some more fun with their characters. There was less of a playful air about it than there was before - a lot of the older cats were somehow played younger I felt with the first cast and I like that a lot - but I guess it's just how each actor decides to interpret their character, they were still very good as an overall cast anyway so I'm not too fussed. Noticeably outstanding performances only really came from the people who stayed on from the old cast so it would just be interesting to see them again in a few months when the new guys have got some more experience. I'm not saying they were bad, no, not in anyway at all (well with a couple of exceptions) but yeah, I think you've got my point. I believe they will be superb because in Wolverhampton I saw Paul Farrell be Mistoffelees for one of the very first times and he was good but just not outstanding, when I saw him as Mistoffelees again in Birmingham he was just brilliant, you could see how he'd relaxed and grown more confident with the role and he was fab so I think the same will probably happen with most of these new guys and I wish them the best of luck for the tour and pray I'll get to see it in the summer *grins and crosses fingers*.