New-look Cats takes the rap

Cats, Sheffield Lyceum from�Monday, October 3, to Saturday, October 15, 2016.
Cats, Sheffield Lyceum from�Monday, October 3, to Saturday, October 15, 2016.

A chance to pitter patter down memory lane at the Lyceum next week as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical Cats arrives for a two-week run, after sell-out seasons at the London Palladium.

On just one special night of the year, all Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy announces which of them will go up to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn.

Based on TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the musical premiered at the New London Theatre in 1981 where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances, winning Olivier awards on the way.

It returned to the West End in December 2014 reuniting the original creative team of director Trevor Nunn, associate director and choreographer Gillian Lynne, designer John Napier and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The sparkling fusion of music, dance and verse has now taken on a new life for a new generation with some special innovations.

Rum Tum Tugger has become a rap song, a new tap section inserted into The Old Gumbie Cat with music from ALW and choreography by Bill Deamer, Growl Tiger has been altered musically and The Ballad of Billy McGraw has been replaced with the aria, In Una Tepida Notte D’estate.

But all the classics remain including the unforgettable Memory, which has been recorded by more than 150 artists from Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis to Liberace and Barry Manilow.

Cats runs at the Lyceum Theatre from Monday, October 3, to Saturday, October 15.

l Sheffield Theatres is throwing open its doors for its annual Fun Palaces weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

The event, which attracted more than 2,500 visitors last year, returns with free activities, including workshops, tours, craft activities and even a barn dance,

Ahead of the Crucible’s Christmas production of Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, the theatre will be getting in a Wild West mood with a ‘Tin Can Annie’ side-show, cowboy craft corner, dance workshop to hone hoe-down skills before doh-si-doh-ing among the hay bales at the Crucible’s first ever barn dance with Bobbing Joe’s Band.

Others can head out into Tudor Square to help Sheffield Theatre company Third Angel rename the streets to create a very special Sheffield Map of Dreams in Desire Paths.

Alternatively, they can stay inside and learn to harmonise in a singing class or head for the family drama workshop or the theatrical photo booth, record a professional voice-over with the sound department, join the lighting team to take the spotlight in the studio or set the stage and call the actors before the show with the stage management team.

Visits to the wardrobe department and make-up team are also on offer along with mini-snooker and tours of the hidden depths of the Lyceum.