Cats is my favourite musical, I have seen it over 10 times, but I have never seen an amateur version until now and before the show started I was a little skeptical as to whether the show would live up to Andrew Lloyd Webber's stunning music and T.S.Eliot's mesmerising words.
All reservations I had about the show disappeared as soon as I walked into the theatre and saw Jess Woodward's set design. The set was designed to evoke the feeling of the professional production but different enough to stand out in its own right. The different levels enabled the cast to move around and enter the stage in lots of different ways.
Next came the brilliant musical score performed brilliantly by a live orchestra. In order to meet licensing requirements the show used the original score and not the updated version which now tours the country. This made the show even better. I have never liked the Rum Tum Tuggers rap in the updated version and the original song allowed Samuel Hands to show off his fantastic ability.
All of the dancers/actors in this production are top quality. At no point in the show did the audience think they were watching an amateur production as all of the dancers were perfectly in time and executed the routines perfectly. The dance section at the end of the first half was one of the best I have seen.
The effort and energy that had been put into this show was obvious throughout. My main disappointment was not being able to see the show again. Stage Productions have proved that just because a production isn't classed as professional does not mean it will be bad. This was better than professional versions that I have seen. No expense was spared from the costumes to the special effects, it was a perfect night out.
Although Cats has now finished Stage Productions are already busy rehearsing for their next show: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice which will be at the Rep Theatre in Stoke in March 2018. If this production is anything to go by then I highly recommend you get your tickets before they sell out as it will be a production not to be missed.
Stage Productions are superb and have produced one of the best shows I have seen, I can't wait for the next one.
Reviewed by Daniel Keen at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.