CATS (National Tour): 60-second review

Based on the amount of cat ears sitting on top of adult heads last night, I think it is safe to say that CATS has gone camp. That can be fun, and Cats is certainly campy. The 80s costumes are iconic, but well past their sell-by date. The set looks cheap and a little cramped.  

As Act I stretches on, it becomes clear that kitsch itself is not enough to carry CATS. With the threadbare plot holding it together, the show really lives or dies on its performers’ ability to selld the crap out of it. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, the non-equlity touring cast of this iteration is not able to muster the requisite oomph. 

Act II is slightly lighter affair until the too-long end. For my money, I think the one-two punch of “Gus the Theater Cat” (played with proper gusto by John Anker Bow) and “Skimbleshanks” (John Zamborsky) is one of the best in the musical theater cannon. When “Memory” reprises right before the finale, Grizabella (Tayler Harris) does a serviceable, if not transcendent, job.

Understudy Kieran Macdonald did a fantastic job in the physically demanding role of Mungojerrie. Erica Lee Cianciulli was underutilized as Bombalurina; she was electrifying every time she was on stage. 

[National Tour at the Miller Theatre, 250 S. Broad St.] March 14-19, 2023;

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