Cats” Review – Ryedale Youth Theatre, Milton Rooms, Malton April 3-6th, 2013


Malton’s Milton Rooms was absolutely full of cats, cats of all shapes, colours and sizes and all belonging to the very talented company that is Ryedale Youth Theatre.  Once again this multi-talented local group of performers have thrilled us with another wonderful show; with Angela Kirkham directing and choreographing the 80-strong company, Martin Dixon (Musical Choral Director), Ali Kirkham (Further Choreography) and the 8-strong band led by Chris Hocking (Musical Director) all combining to ensure that the performance moved seamlessly between each set piece.  Based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” and with music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, this  show is full of colour and style from the opening number to the very last note of the finale.  The set is perfect for the production, giving the large ensemble cast room to move around, and dance most wonderfully.  The musicians are tucked away at the top of a flight of stairs at the back of the stage, which means that the stage extended forwards into the auditorium as well as at each side – with a company as large as Ryedale Youth Theatre’s this was a very useful innovation, and one of which the company took full advantage. There were cats of every type and colour, large and small, dancing and singing – tap dancing cats, who knew?!  The costumes – every one different in subtle ways – and the make up combined to ensure a totally believable cast of cats of every size, shape and colour were covering the stage, and at one point Magical Mr Mistoffelees (Oliver Fearn) even managed to produce seven kittens out of a hat – well, he is magical!  There was a cat on a trapeze, (Shane Scarth) a sexy Elvis-like Rum Tum Tugger (Josh Milner) and the hauntingly sad Grizabella (Hannah Richardson), with her red, glowing claws.  Every cat was played totally convincingly by each talented cast member;  from the exuberance of Rum Tum Tugger,  the desperate sadness of Grizabella, the wisdom of Old Deuteronomy (Leo Rowell), the cheekiness of Mungojerry and Rumpleteezer, not forgetting the train-travelling Skimbleshanks and Gus the ageing and shaking theatre cat.  The ensemble song and dance numbers were executed with precision and perfection by all the cast, the dancing was exciting and the singing simply beautiful.


This simply purrfect show could move seamlessly back into the West End with this company and fill a much larger space – the show sold out every performance this week.  The cast all showed dedication, talent and maturity beyond their years and residents of Ryedale are lucky to have such a talented theatre young company on their doorstep.  Long may they continue.


Teriann Wilton

To view photos of the production, please visit our gallery page