REVIEW: Taunton School shocks Brewhouse back to life with CATS

Chard & Ilminster News: TAUNTON School's CATS cast. CREDIT: Pink Apple Studios. TAUNTON School's CATS cast. CREDIT: Pink Apple Studios.

NOW that was a sight to behold. On Tuesday night, 285 days after the power was unceremoniously shut off at the Taunton arts hub, light came flooding out of the dormant Brewhouse Theatre.

Taunton School’s über-talented young performers have shocked the theatre back to life for a show week of CATS, a challenging cornerstone of the Lloyd-Webber canon if ever there was one.

And what a stunning way to shake the dust off.

This was like no school production I’d ever seen; the cast, miked up and donning the definitive striking costumes of the CATS aesthetic, looked, sang and danced like they’d come out of a West End finishing school.

True to the Lloyd Webber stamp, this musical is wall-to-wall song without dialogue, with the added hurdle for the cast of moving, leaping and bounding with feline grace, caution and curiosity.

It was seamless.

From Ancient Egypt’s thrall to the whiskered god to the cursed witch’s companion, cats are a species surrounded in mythology.

In ‘CATS’, however, this myth is the romance of the moonlit alley, the mystique of the unspeaking, furred Mr Mistoffelees, the humanity of the pack, the Mick Jagger-esque rock-god of the street, and their revered, wizened sage.

Want to meet a Jellical Cat, learn how to address him right and understand what it means to live nine lives? You’ve come to the right place.

In the twinkling theatre, the volume of expectation matched the throng of audience members urgent to get inside, set against the cool blast of the saxophone. Once in and seated, it was smiles all round. Even if for a few days only, their Brewhouse was back.

Cats runs nightly at 7.30pm until Saturday with a 2.30pm matinee performance today (Thursday).

Buy tickets (£15/£8) at tauntonboxoffice.co.uk

DAISY BLACKLOCK

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