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CATS The Musical according to a suaku person

CATS was an astounding medley of song and dance, and here is how a clueless person watched the Gala Premiere

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Call me uncultured, but I usually don’t enjoy musicals. I prefer my stories told, not sung in flashy routines with flailing bodies.

But CATS was a different story. Having received critical and mass acclaim internationally – as of last year, it is the third longest-running Broadway show – CATS was every bit entertaining and moving as promised.

However, my mind refused to cooperate with the stellar show. I was constantly about three song numbers behind, and had to routinely pester my good friend Wikipedia for clarification. So, if you’re clueless like me, here’s what CATS is about, more or less.

A Funny Story


A tribe of cats – some mangy, some fabulous – dance and sing about jelly. (With Wikipedia’s help, I discovered their ‘clan’ name is the Jellicle cats.) Most of the show introduces us to the many different amusing characters, like a flamboyant playboy tomcat called Rum Tum Tugger.


Tugger hops off stage to tease audience members. I remembered how the actor, Earl Gregory, told me that he spots people to approach by our body language. I put on my grumpiest face so he wouldn’t come and ruffle my hair.


Finally, cat-Jesus arrives on stage. It’s Old Deuteronomy, the oldest cat of the lot, who will pick one cat to be reborn. This probably uses up one of their nine lives.

A Famous Song

Possibly the highlight of CATS is the hit song “Memory”, sung by an old hag of a cat called Grizabella. Parts of the song appear at different moments, and it’s a lot more haunting than what you hear on radio.


Grizabella is a dishevelled exile, and the other cats shun her while she stands in melancholy lighting crooning about her memories. But her performance is so riveting that the Jellicle cats are compelled to accept her again. They erupt in an outpour of acceptance, just like how the audience erupted into an outpour of tears.

References Galore

Since CATS adapts the work of literary legend TS Eliot, it’s given that there are many classical allusions in the musical. For example, one act features pirates donning a pitchfork that resembles Satan’s trident.

Some of them are more obvious, like the Christ-like figure of Old Deuteronomy. The musical is so detailed in both set and story that it would take some serious concentration to completely appreciate the spectacle.

By the end of the show though, I still didn’t know what a Jellicle cat really is. Perhaps I’ll have to watch it again. Andrew Lloyd Webber, you are quite the marketing genius.

CATS The Musical is running at the MasterCard Theatres in Marina Bay Sands until 1 Feb. Get your tickets at sistic.com.sg or participate in our giveaway here!

By Pamela Chow