The Herald Bulletin

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Community

February 15, 2014

Beef and Board's 'Cats' all about the spectacle

Don't look for plot, just enjoy dancing and acrobatics

Last fall Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre staged “Les Misérables” and it was all about the incredible singing. Now the long-running Broadway show “Cats” is being performed on the small stage and it is all about the dancing and eye-popping acrobatics.

An extremely talented cast of a whopping 22 members fill the stage with tap dancing, ballet, jazz dancing, flips, leaps and even astonishing feats on large silk ribbons hanging from the ceiling. Never a dull moment, cats prance and dance all over the stage and throughout the theater.

While actors at this venue often walk though the audience for entrances and exits, numerous cats strut by tables during the course of the entire show. While your attention is

drawn one direction, don’t be surprised if you feel something hairy brush against your arm. Cats are all about you.

The fast-moving, high-energy show keeps the audience entranced with one unbelievable move after another. An interesting set is completely unnecessary as the eyes of the audience are forever trying to decide which cat demands their attention.

I saw the show on Broadway years ago and was not impressed. On seeing it a second time, I discovered my issue: I was looking for a plot and trying to understand the story. This is a mistake. “Cats” is a spectacle to be enjoyed for the flexible prancing bodies and the fascinating costumes. Don’t get caught up looking for hidden meaning in the storyline.

Here’s what you should know going in: the musical is based on a series of poems by T.S. Eliot for his godchildren that he did not intend to be printed and circulated. Collected and published in 1939 under the title “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” the whimsical poems caught the attention of Andrew Lloyd Webber when he was a child.

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