ACTS Theatre School, even by their previous high standards, set new definitions of excellence with a truly memorable presentation of the School’s Edition of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats.
From the minute the audience walked through the doors they were captivated by a perfectly designed (Sean Date), constructed (Neil King and Tony Saunter) and painted (Micky Pearce and Richard Filler) set that was to host The Annual Jellicle Ball based on T S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
Under the direction of Tracey Brunton (assisted by Val King), with Musical Director Alan King and Choreographer Katie Williams, the 60 students making up the cast sung, danced and acted their way through a production that would have graced any West End stage.
Make up, lighting and costumes complimented the set and the cat actions were continually portrayed by all those on stage.
The production moved effortlessly through the description of Jellicle Cats, the reason for their gathering at the junkyard, the introduction of the individual cats, the spiriting away of Old Deuteronomy, his return and his eventual choice of the earlier ostricised Grizabella to be that year’s choice to go to heaven and be reborn.
The build up to the show’s finale used the various levels that had been cleverly designed and led to a final scene and a curtain call which had the audience on its feet with admiration.
The contrasting characters were perfectly captured by the cast with mischief, arrogance, wisdom, magic, efficiency and pathos all perfectly portrayed in the characters where it was appropriate.
In such a stunning production it is very difficult to pick out individual performances for mention but it would be wrong not to congratulate Harry Winchester (Munkustrap), George Heath (Rum Tum Tugger), James Venning (an incredibly energetic Mr. Mistoffelees), Asher Bentham (Old Deuteronomy), and Rebecca Brown (Grizabella) for a stunning rendition of Memory.
It is not just about those on stage: without all of the backstage crew, lighting, sound, make up, front of house, wardrobe, set design/construction and publicity help there would be no show.
Well done to everyone involved in this top class production.
Yet another reminder of the musical and theatrical talents we have in Bridgwater and how vitally important the Town Hall is to the development and nurturing of those talents.
Chairman of Bridgwater Amateur Operatic Society