Cats ready to pounce on a whole new generation of fans

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 December, 2008, 12:00am

Cats is back! Andrew Lloyd Webber's most famous musical is returning to Hong Kong this May, and you have Lunchbox Productions' James Cundall to thank or blame, depending on how you feel about the popular show based on poems by T.S. Elliot.

'Cats is like candy floss,' producer Cundall, who recently brought We Will Rock You here, said. 'You know, it started in the early 1980s when the economy was down, too. It's just a very enjoyable show. It's not about anything, you don't have to think too much, it doesn't even have a story really.'

At a press and sponsor reception hosted at the Grand Hyatt on Thursday, they even flew in the star of this touring production, Australian performer Delia Hannah (right), who plays the Grizabella the Glamour Cat role (above, centre). Offering guests a brief taste, she belted out a stripped-down version of the big climax number, Memory, and still nearly blew out the windows.

'Everything about Cats is bizarre. It's certainly in a world of its own,' Hannah said. Arguably, it wasn't a critics' favourite, but over time and with a new generation of slapdash musicals derived from schlocky movies and old pop hits, Webber's populist work has gained more credibility. 'The thing is if you can get ordinary people into the theatre, I think it's a good thing. People have to get over it and not be so snobbish.'

Cats starts at the Academy for Performing Arts' Lyric Theatre on May 15. Tickets will be HK$895 to HK$350.