The latest production by the Radlett Musical Theatre Company is one of the first amateur productions of the hugely popular musical ‘Cats’. The RMTC seem to be making a habit of choosing an eclectic range of material for their shows. Their recent staging of ‘The Producers’ was an inspired choice, with the emphasis on slapstick comedy and well-defined lead characters, with a great plot and spectacular set pieces. ‘Cats’ is a very different beast (no pun intended). Based on ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ by T. S. Eliot, it has little narrative thread and as such it is difficult to relate to the characters. There are two or three memorable songs, ‘Memory’ being the most famous and recognisable, ably sung by Carole-Anne Colford in the role of Grizabella. The most notable vocal performance, for me, was David Duffy in the role of Gus, whose singing and acting at the start of Act II was superb. In many ways the highlight of the show.
The strong points of this production were the choreography and costumes. Every inch of the stage was utilised by the cast, with beautifully choreographed and danced routines. It was visual spectacle. There is no doubt the RMTC, with its light opera background, have a wealth of excellent singers. I feel that this resource was under-used due to the simplicity of the vocal score of a musical such as Cats.
So overall the RMTC put on a visually spectacular show, but the choice of material was not to my taste, on this occasion. Their next production, ‘The Sound of Music’ promises more.