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CATS

FERNEHAM HALL, FAREHAM

21ST, 22ND, 23RD FEBRUARY 2019

Cast of Characters
(In Alphabetical Order)

Alonzo.......................Edward Carroll
Asparagus.......Brandon Cable-Rogers
Bombalurina. ............Siobhan Carroll
Bustpher Jones.........Harry Firzgerald
Carbucketty.................Kit Mackenzie
Coricopat..................Archie Crockett
Demeter...........................Zoe Elliot
Deuteronmy.....................Milo Baker
Great Rumpus Cat.............Sy Oakley
Griddlebone..............Emilia Barnden
Grizabella...................Isobel Griggs
Growltiger...............Harry Fitzgerald
Jellylorum..................Scarlett Harris
Jemima..............Tabitha Smith-Allen
Jennyanydots..............Jasmine Berry
Macavity........................Ben Phillips
Mistoffelees..................Charle Clark
Munkustrap..................Samual Beer
Mungojerrie..........Hope Hillier-Smith
Quaxo.........................Charles Clark
Rumpleteazer........Eden Hillier-Smith
Rum Tug Tugger...........Kieran Poling
Skimbleshanks..............Jack Edwards

Victor..............................Sy Oakley

Company Cats

Admetus.........................Alice Clark
Athena..........................Millie Baker
Bill Bailey......................Jacob Hogg
Calypso......................Harriet Killick
Cassandra....................Laura Taylor
Clio...........................Elsie-Mai Kew
Electra......................Gabby Burnett
Elpis.............................Abbie Leigh
Etcetera....................Daniella Betts
Exotica..........................Tegan Cook
Genghis........................Luke Causer
George.................Edward Richardson
Harmonia..................Anwin Treacher
Hebe............................Niamh Foley
Hera...................Bethany Routledge
Metis.........................Faith Williams
Plato...........................Zac Williams
Sillabub.......................Victoria Clark
Tantomile.....................Mishka Cook
Tumblebrutus.............Bethany Cooke


Cats Review

Cats, Ferneham Hall, Fareham.

The future of local theatre seems assured if it’s in such capable hands.

Youth theatre has been known to strike dread into my heart; semi-talented youngsters giving semi-talented performances directed by semi-talented directors and choreographers. Not so for Stage One Youth Theatre at Ferneham Hall with Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s unforgiving Cats. Unforgiving? Those songs are not an easy sing; Lloyd-Webber is a master of his art and expects his performers to be the masters of theirs. How does this group, average age around 13, cope? Extraordinarily well. Accompanied by an orchestra, they conquer all. It’s not perfect but it’s up there with some of the best adult non-professional stuff I’ve seen. Jacqui Ivemy (director) and Matt Newman (choreographer) have played to the company’s strengths – and this company has strengths a-plenty. Performance of the evening goes to Brandon Cable-Rogers as Gus, the theatre cat; a studied, minutely-detailed performance worthy of an actor many years his senior. He even dances, impressively in character, in the finale. And on the subject of dancing, Charles Clark, take a bow. His solo during Magical Mister Mistofelees garnered applause before he’d even finished – and well deserved. Nice work, too, from Milo Baker, Siobhan Carroll, Zoe Elliott, Isobel Griggs and Eden and Hope Hillier-Smith. Excellent vocals; excellent movement. The future of local theatre seems assured if it’s in such capable hands.

JAMES GEORGE Published: 09:55 Friday 22 February 2019

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Cats – Stage One Youth Theatre
Date – 21st February 2019
Director – Jacqui Ivemy
Musical Director – Dennis Brombley
Choreographer – Matt Newman
Venue – Ferneham Hall, Fareham
Type of production – Musical

Wow! No, that’s not enough, I’ll say it again, bigger: WOW!!! It’s not often that you leave a theatre feeling exhilarated, but this was one of those rare occasions. The tremendous energy, vitality and enthusiasm of this young cast just flowed across the footlights to the very receptive audience, in one of the most impressive productions I’ve seen in an awfully long time.

Cats, based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” is one of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s longest running musicals. It has no plot to speak of, is sung-through (so no dialogue either), has some fiendishly difficult lyrics and music for the cast (and orchestra) to master, and performances from theatre greats like Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley to live up to. What a challenge! But Stage One took it in their stride and, thanks to firm direction from Jacqui Ivemy, inventive and detailed choreography from Matt Newman, they emerged triumphant. This was the first time I’d seen Cats and what an introduction it proved to be!

Take a big bow Wardrobe Mistress Bethany Baker. What a fabulous picture you conjured up with the costumes and wigs. Praise too for the Havant and South Downs College students for the makeup – it’s a major undertaking to achieve a different look for every member of this huge cast (40+), and they all looked fantastic. A great set and magical lighting completed the picture. The sound was crystal clear – vital when there is no dialogue – and the orchestra, under the assured baton of Dennis Brombley was perfectly balanced and never overwhelmed the singers.

Every single member of this huge cast played their part to perfection. The singing was top-notch with ultra-clear diction. Characterisation was superb, and was well maintained throughout the show – everyone was doing something interesting even when the focus of attention was elsewhere. The dancing and movement had obviously been very well rehearsed and Matt Newman’s intelligent choreography gave each cast member the fluid, graceful, athletic movements that we associate with cats.

I debated whether to single out individuals for praise because the show as a whole was so good, but there were some exceptional performances that I’d like to mention briefly. Hope and Eden Hillier-Smith were a remarkable double-act, Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaze, exuberant and full of confidence. Charles Clark gave a mesmerising and balletic performance as Mistoffelees – what a superb dancer and such stage presence! Milo Baker ably demonstrated his rich singing voice and vocal dexterity as Old Deuteronomy, and Isobel Griggs brought thoughtful characterisation and a beautiful singing voice to Grizabella. Jack Edwards gave a spirited and charismatic performance as Skimbleshanks and Brandon Cable-Rogers totally nailed the character of Gus the Theatre Cat, wringing every last ounce of emotion from the song and staying in character to the very end. I’m just sorry I can’t mention everyone – you were all tremendous.

An enormous amount of effort had obviously gone into making this show, both on stage and behind the scenes. Great attention to detail had been paid to characterisation, diction, singing and movement during rehearsal, and this has really paid dividends. Stage One, you should be mightily proud of this incredible production – I look forward to seeing how you can top it with your next show!

Mark Donalds
NODA SE District 10 Representative

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