Updated: Dec 31, 2019
For Australians in particular, lamenting their arts cuts, Scomo's disappearance or the loss of their lung capacity, 'Cats' is a must see. It is inspiration to the next generation of musical stars, thespians and furries, a cult classic that will fall firmly on its feet. There will be those tragically missing an eye to this future - but others remain. For now, long after the final credits roll, small children, die hard acid afficoiandos and the unfashionable imbibers of the bucket bong will remain transfixed on the big or small screen. As Production Designer, Eve Stewart, explains, “There’s limited logic. But I completely take my hat off and celebrate the nonlogic”.
So it is mesmorising fun inside this mashup of Victorian London, art deco neon with pyschedilic injections of 1950's and 60's Las Vegas.
There is Ray Winston in a furred skin suit. He spends his time on a grimy barge in the middle of the Thames scowling balefully. He chains Rebel Wilson and James Corden up.
When you didn't think it could get any better or weirder, plate licking, Ian Mckellan finds a smooth overdrive as 'Gus the theatre cat'.
It isn't all about the dirty tomcats. Grizabella, is sad, so sad, disturbingly sad. Jennifer Hudson's rendition will put your limbic system into meltdown. Her whiskered Hamlet Queen of melodrama can turn you into a giggling hyena with acute stage rabies.
The Dame Judy Dench Deuteronomy, 'suggests that humanoid objects which imperfectly resemble actual human beings provoke uncanny or strangely familiar feelings of eeriness and revulsion in observers.' Maybe it is her human hands sticking out from her voluminous furcoat that is also her skin. Or maybe I just saw the controversial original unpatched version? Whatever, she brings a gravatis and a moral spine to the definition of uncanny valley. It is something never seen before and her single leg cock from her basket will never be unseen.
There will be many questions asked in silence by the viewer of Tom Hooper's 'Cats.' What? Why? And who the fuck is that under all that CGI?
Whoever they may be, Mungojerrie, Rumpleteaser and Skimbleshanks deserve an extra chickenbone for their pursuit of abandoned enthusiasm amongst their mind-bending set pieces. And yes, of course Rebel Wilson and James Cordon revelled in their weirdness too.
Eve Stewart, the film's production designer, in a Vanity Fair interview says of her first experience watching Cats in 1981, “It was so strange but mesmerizing." She goes on to say of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s interpretation of T.S. Eliot's ridiculous poem, “I’m hoping that the film is the same.“
Mission accomplished. Mission accomplished Eve Stewart and Tom Hooper. You are keeping the dream alive.
Don't fight 'Cats' succumb to their deleriuim.