Cats : 3 of 5
It's amazing that I had never seen Cats before, since it's been such a huge success since the 80s. Now that I've seen it, I'm having trouble seeing how it became such a huge phenomenon! It's true, there are lots and lots of great things about the show, but I just couldn't get over the fact that this is just a loose collection of songs with only a fragment of plot! The idea to write music to TS Eliot's poetry is a good one, but in the end there just isn't enough characterization to make me enjoy or identify with any of the characters. First, the good points: the costumes are really wonderful (and the female kittens are quite sexy), and the dancing is innovative and acrobatic - I have no idea how they can remember the moves to such long numbers! Memory is a beautiful song, of course, but you quickly find out that it's the only beautiful song in the show. The bad points are that Eliot's poetry is full of nonsense Seuss-like words that are great on paper, but just don't sing well (I'm sure half the audience never knew they were singing things like "jellicle" or "gumbie"). The orchestration for this traveling company had way too much synthesizer for my taste - it was like the Tron soundtrack in places! Weber uses lots of odd meter and syncopated melodies that really start to get old (and what was cool in the 80s sounds dated now). As usual, I had a great time at the theater, but I can't say that I plan on seeing Cats again.