Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Cats - The Musical |
Actors: Elaine Paige, John Mills, Ken Page, Rosemarie Ford, Michael Gruber
Director: David Mallet
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
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Ellen D. from WINSTON SALEM, NC
Reviewed on 8/16/2012...
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Immensely Durable View of the Stage. Buy It
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 04/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The `Cats' DVD is a cinematic record of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical as performed on the London stage in, I believe, 1998 starring Elaine Paige in the `lead' role of Grizabella, although the only aspect of her role which warrants calling it the starring role is the fact that this character sings the `show-stopper' song, `Memory' which, if you are to believe writer / director Kevin Smith's bit in `Jersey Girl', has become a real Broadway cliché. The show is the most truly `ensemble' performance I can think of. Few characters stand out for more than the length of a single piece, yet practically all characters are on stage for over 50% of the two-hour performance. Aside from Paige, the only character / actor who is remotely familiar to me is John Mills who is on for but two scenes and who is more of a prop than a character.
I make a strong point of the fact that this is a recording of a stage performance rather than a conversion of the play to a more realistic environment. This conversion is done for most Broadway plays turned into movies, especially for big musicals such as `Oklahoma', `The Sound of Music', `My Fair Lady', and `Chicago'. But this conversion is not always successful. That is, the very big realistic setting is not always an enhancement. My best evidence for this is the film done of `The Fantasticks' with a cast including such high powered talent as Joel Gray and others. As someone how has seen the play done on the live stage three times with three different interpretations, including a performance by the New York City cast, I can say that the movie failed to breath any life into the classic minimalist staging it gets in intimate little theaters. The movie was simply not as good as the live performance. This is clearly not the case with this DVD record. It gives us the stage fantasy that needs practically no embellishment with a real ally or cinematic whiz-bang.
Like `The Fantasticks', I have seen `Cats' on the New York stage sitting in a mezzanine seat about 4 rows from the back of the Winter Garden theatre. And, while there is something about a live performance that simply cannot be recorded, I will say that this DVD (and VCR) recording is quite as good a record as you can get.
My most important criteria for evaluating a movie on DVD or VCR is whether or not the work wears well after the second or third or fourth viewing. For example, `Chicago' was fun to watch once, but I have no burning desire to watch it again. On the other hand, `Singin' in the Rain' I can watch about once a year and still find the time well spent. I will say with great conviction that I can watch this recording of `Cats' once a year and enjoy every minute spend with the experience, because I have done so over the last few years. The performance and its record are so durable that my second most important criteria for a DVD, a good commentary track, becomes unnecessary. And, the commentary track is basically a waste of time for a musical anyway, especially a musical based on famous poems written 65 years ago by the most notable poet, T. S. Eliot in `Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'.
The play has the thinnest of plots based on a once a year selection of one Jellicle cat to ascend into some state of grace, presumably at the conclusion of their legendary nine (9) lives. The only other plot twist involves the kidnapping of the head cat, Old Deuteronomy, thereby preventing this feline apotheosis from being carried out.
This accounts for four or five out of the nineteen numbers. All the rest are based directly on fourteen out of the fifteen poems in Eliot's little book.
One may think that this work has but a single hit song and, therefore, the remaining musical numbers are second rate. This is certainly not the case. I find myself tapping my toe to all numbers, with especial pleasure coming from `Jellicle Cats', `Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser', and `The Pekes and the Pollicles'. These are much more like stories in song than a simple ballad with easily remembered refrain.
Very highly recommended for anyone with a taste for musicals and worth a try for anyone who likes fantasy.
We have seen "Cats" live twice, This is by far the very best
J. Levin | Las Vegas, NV | 07/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am 77 years old.My beloved late wife and I were avid live theater patrons, both in GB and the USA. My wife and I were lucky to have seen our first "Cats" performance in London the first month it opened.Several years later we again revisited London and saw "Cats" again.Both times it was a remarkable theatrical experience.I just received my "Cats (Ultimate Edition)" DVD and it is the very best version of "Cats" I have ever seen. The extra bonus DVD that comes with the "Unlimited Edition," explaining in minute detail, how the play "Cats" was conceived and its production, is truly worth the price of DVD alone.Joe Levin, Las Vegas NV"
Life to the Everlasting Cat!!
J. Levin | 07/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All I can say is...wow...I loved the VHS version of Cats. As one of those people who saw it on Broadway first, the video is a great way to bring back memories. It also gives you the chance to see facial expressions up close, and rewind great parts :-)Cast members who stick out (at least for me): John Partridge as Rum Tum Tugger (yummy! Good looking AND a great singer/dancer!); The fantastic Michael Gruber as Munkustrap (can't believe I missed him on Broadway..); Jacob Brent as The Magical Mr. Mistoffelees (this guy can DANCE!!), Rosemarie Ford as Bombalurina; Aeva Mae as Demeter; Elaine Paige as Grizabella; Drew Varley and Jo Gibb as Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer (and they WERE NOT DUBBED!! Those beautiful, amazing voices are their own!!); ok, the WHOLE CAST was great!!One or two notes tho.. there are some PG-13 moments. Some er...interesting closeups (butt shots during Macavity.. and er.. crotch shots during Rum Tum Tugger), a little blooper where Tugger curses Griz (thankfully only mouthed!), and risque scene during the Jellicle Ball. If you have kids under say, 7 or 8, please watch it with them.All in all, a great buy! I highly recommend it!!"