“Memories” Cats the Musical

MEMORIES
 
 
 
 I cannot believe it’s been 29 years since I last saw the Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical “Cats”, at the New London Theatre (London UK) when it first opened in 1981. It almost seemed like yesterday, yet 99% of this evening’s performers had not yet been born……….  Whilst I cherish the memory (pardon the pun) of Elaine Paige http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFUct7y8pXc as Grizelda, once the glamour cat and now a skanky, washed up has-been, (know the feeling!). singing the iconic “Memories”, I hadn’t been prepared for the hair on my arms to stand up as Anastasia Lange really belted the song out for the second time during the second half. Up until then, she had introduced the song in the first act and it had been taken up somewhat halfheartedly by a couple of the “jellicle” cats during the development of the general theme.
 
For those of you unacquainted with “Cats”; it was developed from TS Eliot’s “Old Possum’s book of Practical Cats”, which profiles among others, the jellicle Cat tribe (cheery footloose and fancy-free cats), the jellicle patriarch, Old Deutoronomy, – “he has lived many lives” and “buried nine wives…………… Magical Mr. Mistoffelees and Macavity. The plot hinges around who will be chosen by Old Deuteronomy, to be reborn into a new life on the Heaviside Layer *
 
Unfortunately I sat behind two of the largest members of the audience that night. When they arrived in the row in front, he said he was sorry to be sitting in front of me. I soon saw why – he was ENORMOUS and cut my stage sight-line completely. After I’d determined that the performance was completely sold out and there was nowhere else to sit, I spent the first 15 minutes with my head poking out into the aisle at a 90% angle (bring on the headache) His partner, who also rather large was obviously in a lot of discomfort as at one point she stretched herself out along the aisle steps until she was asked to move back by one of the stewards. She changed places with the bloke and I thought my troubles were over. Not so. True, she wasn’t as “tall” in her seat, however, she proceeded to fidget and reposition for the whole performance – at one point her body was facing me and her head skewed round to the stage. She threw back her head, played with her hair, snuggled with her partner, got up and down and shook her legs out – dear God; I tried to take deep breaths to distract from the temptation to throttle her.
She was totally oblivious of the havoc she was wreaking as her fidgeting was having a knock-on effect on everyone in the same position behind her and upwards. All of us had to compensate for her movements.
 
Didn’t detract from the overall show, and the seat had been as “cheap as chips” courtesy of email subscription to Mirvish.com. AND, I always enjoy going to the Cannon Theatre, so gloriously opulent and one of Toronto’s oldest.
 
 On the subject of Toronto theatres, just down the road from the Cannon Theatre is the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre centre http://www.heritagefdn.on.ca/userfiles/HTML/nts_1_7952_1.html
Housing two completely separate and distinctive theatres –  the classically decorated  Elgin, all gilded columns and marble, and seven stories above, the Winter Gardens – hand painted walls and foliage covered ceilings –  it is the last operating double-decker theatre in the world. You can actually take a 1 ½ hour tour of the complex on Thursdays at 5pm or Saturdays at 11am.Tel. 416 314 2871. It costs around $10. You do need to book.
 
Heaviside layer – the E region or the Heaviside layer, is a layer of ionized gas occurring between roughly 90–150 km (56–93 mi) above the ground — one of several layers in the Earth‘s ionosphere.
 
 
PS SORRY ABOUT THE CAT PICTURECOULDN’T FIND A COPYRIGHT-FREE  ONE  OF “CATS THE MUSICAL”
 
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