CATS, the New Theatre’s fabulous feline Christmas show, was off to a flying start last night, playing to a packed and enthusiastic house.  The longevity of this hugely successful musical is a tribute to the original production team, and in particular to choreographer Gillian Lynne.  The dancing never stops, whether it is a full blown dance routine or the exquisitely detailed movement of the cats in apparent repose;  a knee gently rubbing an ear, or one paw being carefully placed on top of another.  There isn’t a moment’s downtime for the cast, as each cat moves or pauses in subtly different ways.  Anyone who owns a cat will recognise the little quirks of kitten-like behaviour that have been so brilliantly incorporated into the choreography.

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Yesterday’s press launch of CATS showed what a treat Oxford’s Christmas audiences will enjoy at the New Theatre this year.  We were beguiled by cast members in full feline costume mingling among us, before Sophia Ragavelas (ex-RBS Junior Associate, ex-London Studio Centre Cecchetti scholar, and star of the show) sang “Memory”.  The hugely entertaining question-and-answer session with producer David Ian revealed that Oxford will be given the 1991 production for proscenium arch, which was devised by the original creative team, including choreographer Gillian Lynne.  (more…)