The naming of cats is a difficult matter.

Original rum tum tuggerLate last year I had an email from lastminute.com to let me know that CATS the musical was back in action and in London for a special 12 week run. I was so excited!

This amazing theatre production originally ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway before closing the final curtains.

I was lucky enough to be taken on a school trip to see Cats when I was around 10 years old it was just magical.

Everyone one of us year-6 students were mesmerised by the performances, the music and the costumes. So much so, that our teachers decided we would rehearse and perform our own production of Cats for our leavers-play.

I remember the moment I stood up and sang the first few bars of ‘Morning has Broken’ in my audition. The teacher was impressed and told the rest of the line up that they should aim to sing like I had! It was a big moment for 10 year old me. I was so happy I had aced the audition and kicked my nerves to the curb.

I loved to sing (and still do) so when I was told I could play the part of Grizabella I was over the moon. Then my mum did some major bubble bursting and booked a family holiday for the same week as the play. Game over. (We did have a nice holiday though).

After 18 years, I still feel a connection to the show and so I jumped at the chance to see it again.

My cousin and I booked seats in the stalls; she had also been to a performance way-back-when so shared in my enthusiasm for Memory and Mr. Mistoffelees.

Unfortunately our big day didn’t quite go to plan, we were allocated the wrong seats, were on the back row of the upper circle and had an awful view.

I tried desperately not to let it ruin my experience but I’d be lying if I said I had enjoyed it. I know how fabulous sitting in the stalls is at any West End performance – you’re a part of the action and can see it all. Especially at Cats, the cast member’s head out into the audience to interact, so we really missed out.

It was a major disappointment but I still enjoyed the songs and surprised myself by singing along to music I hadn’t heard in almost two decades. (Yes it’s that CATchy)!

I’ve had a real think about it and have wondered if it was one of those things that would’ve been better as a childhood memory, like a Furby or S Club 7.

I feel a little like this experience has spoiled my original one, especially considering the producers decided to significantly ‘up-date’ one of the most interesting cats.

They gave Rum Tum Tugger a ‘fresh look’ – he went from being a sexy, rock and roll bad boy in a leotard, to a pop and lock rap artist, wearing harem pants and a gold chain. It was bizarre. However I’m sure for the younger generation who hadn’t seen it the first time round, this was a great addition to the experience.

So to wrap this one up, I suggest that if you’re new to the Cats phenomenon, and into ballet and show tunes, then you purchase yourself a front row seat asap. But if like me, you’re a fan of the original production and feel quite passionate about it, you should probably just sit this one out.

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Author: Rachel

Communications Exec by day, TV show addict by night. Fighting #LymeDisease 24/7. Postgraduate student at Brunel University, writing my way to a Master's degree in Creative Writing.

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