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Monday, August 20, 2007

Puuuuuurrrrrrrrrr...


I mentioned a few weeks ago that one of my Top Ten Peeves includes folks who say "Well, of course I've never heard/read/watched [whatever], but..." and then proceed to criticize it. Of course, my own sense of Peevosity at other's actions has never prevented me from doing the same thing, when the [whatever] in question is of such blatant stupidity that I feel no need to see/hear/watch it first.

And speaking of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical 'Cats'...

So ok, the musical made its' debut, um, 25 years ago, and this past weekend I finally watched the full-blown original-cast version on dvd. Or, to be completely honest, I was at somebody else's house and they got me drunk enough so that I could not stand up properly and then proceeded to pop it on the dvd player.

My first comment will be that since Sir Andy got a knighthood out of it, and millions of people had coughed up a gawdawful amount of money to see it, and it ran for twenty years on Broadway, obviously the judgement of Society is that it has redeeming qualities.

Then again, Society also judges that turnips, "My Name is Raymond", and Celene Dion have redeeming qualities.

To begin with, I will admit that I enjoyed watching it. That is because half the cast were lithe female dancers who were dressed in skin-tight leotards. What's not to like? I'm afraid that female viewers may not get the same effect viewing the male dancers whose, um, "assets" were (unlike, say, ballet dancers) pretty well invisible.

The libretto was also quite fine, but Sir Andrew stole that from T.S. Elliot, so while I give him credit for good taste, it was not "Evita" (and for such small blessings I thank a Benevolent God).

The basic problem with the show was that it was 45 minutes of material stretched to two hours, and Sir Andrew only provided 12 minutes of original music, repeated over and over and over and over. The most famous song, "Memory", is quite haunting, and especially lovely when sung by Elaine Page. But she sings it 16 times. And the song itself has only 1 verse, which is repeated eight times each of the 16 times she sings it.

"Eighth verse, same as the first!"

By the end I was hoping a rabid coyote would gallop onto the stage and devour her on the spot, or that the big boot that comes whanging down in the opening scene would appear again and flatten her.

The rest of the music, with the exception of a nifty little number written for Macavity, all sounds exactly the same, and it's, well, not that interesting.

I understand that a lot of people love the show, and I'm probably full of horse manure, so I feel obliged to say something really nice about it in closing.

Let's see. Ah! I know.

It's much better than Sir Andrew's 'Phantom of the Opera'.

And for such small miracles I thank a Benevolent God.

14 comments:

Cissy Strutt said...

Mmmmm - sweet baby turnips roasted in a pan, dusted with salt.

Cissy Strutt said...

Oh, I mean - Cats? Scats!

Mike said...

I think I said this before, but I used to like Cats. Now I prefer pussy.

Colonel Colonel said...

Cissy- You are an inspiration! I'm going to roast some innocent baby turnips in a pan, grab a beer and throw spitballs at the screen while watching 'Evita'.

Mike- well, I admit the show has some pussy-cats. Everything has a redeeming quality.

Well, not Dik Cheney.

Phoebe Fay said...

I saw Cats about 20-odd years ago (some Very Odd years). I remember liking it, but I'm not sure how much it had to do with the show. My friend and I were about 19, and we went to Toronto for the weekend by ourselves, and it was a whole adventure, part of which involved getting the half-price, day-of tickets, which were for godawful seats - way, way, WAY up high with a column blocking part of the stage. But we were having an adventure, so it was all just grand.

AngryMan said...

CC:
That's what you get for hanging out with Malach.

Kerstin said...

I've never seen Cats. Can you believe I lived right outside of London for 4 years and never saw that? I'm shocked too.

Anyway, I have seen numerous other plays ALW has done and I love them all. But for some odd reason I've never had a desire to see Cats. I wonder why?

Anyway, if anyone ever has an opportunity to see "The Beautiful Game," which he did, you will definitely enjoy it. Less music, more story, and very powerful.

Colonel Colonel said...

Phoebe- the best way to do anything is as part of an adventure, I'm glad you had a good time!

Angryman- live and learn. Well, no, I don't learn, but that's another issue.

Kerstin- In some ways it is definitely a departure from his usual style.

Catalyst said...

Oh, bless you, Colonel. I have never been able to sit through more than a few minutes of Cats in spite of many friends (and SWMBO) who rave about it. And I have been roundly condemned for condemning "Phantom", with it's one song repeated endlessly. For my money, ALW began and ended his successful career with "Jesus Christ Superstar."

Colonel Colonel said...

Catalyst- yes, we are of one mind. I've always liked JCS, and never liked anything else he ever did.

Joey Polanski said...

Oh, but you were drunk when ya watchd it.

Watch it sobr and its friggin Citizn Kane.

Or so Im assumin, nevr havin been drunk enough t watch it.

Colonel Colonel said...

Joey- I had this sudden vivid mental image of Orson Wells bouncing around the stage in a skin-tight leotard and furry ears singing "Memory".

I'm going to go get an electric drill and try to eradicate it.

AngryMan said...

Man, I had a really good link in mind for Jesus Christ Superstar, but I can't fucking find it. Week...

Colonel Colonel said...

Angryman- damn! If you think of it let us know.