DELTA starred in her very first musical – Cats -, in 2015. Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.
Cats introduced the song standard Memory, worldwide known and immortalized by Barbra Streisand. Delta plays Grizabella, an old cat withered by her age. Grizabella wears an old ragged coat, her fellow Cats are disgusted by her and she is an outcast to the Jellicle Cats.
Grizabella sings the song Memory as she contemplates her past memories of better days. Memory is well known as one of the most profound songs to come from the theater.
Check out Phil Brown‘s review of the show for The Courier Mail
Venue | Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Date | February 14, 2016
Reviewed | January 31, 2016
DELTA Goodrem’s role as Grizabella in the musical Cats has drawn some flak from the critics. Part of the reason for that may be that she has star billing above and beyond everyone else, even though she’s not on stage for that long.
But this isn’t the first show to use star power as a magnet for audiences and, the thing is, Delta deserves to be there and when her moment finally came on opening night she blew us all away.
We wondered whether she would make it, actually, because she had been struck down by a mystery virus and missed the dress rehearsal in Brisbane and some previews but she made up for that on opening night.
I’ve spoken to a few people about the show since then and all agree that her final rendering of Memory – a song that threads through the show – was memorable. Actually, that’s an understatement.
There are special moments in the theatre, moments that will stay with you for a long, long time and this was one of them.
It was spine tingling stuff, it really was. I mean that literally, bodily.
You could feel her voice going through you, transcending time and space as she belted it out to the back row and beyond with power and emotion. If it was cricket it would have been a six that ended up in the car park.
Others I spoke to afterwards said they experienced the same physical and emotional response to the show’s signature tune. It’s a beautiful song and you need it to be the highlight of the show and it was.
The show itself tends to divide people and I have even heard some people say they don’t want to see it because they don’t like cats. The animals, that is. Weird.
But it has been entertaining audiences all over the world since the ’80s for a very good reason. It’s a great show with lively dancing, some good songs and the premise is solid.
I mean how many other musicals are based on the work of the 20th century’s greatest poet, T.S. Eliot? Besides all his serious stuff, T.S. Eliot wrote Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a book of poems written for his grandchildren in the 1930s. Andrew Lloyd Webber used to read them at bedtime when he was a child and that sowed the seeds for the musical, which was first performed in 1981.
This show is a new version, the original having been reworked by the original creative team – director Trevor Nunn, associate director and choreographer Gillian Lynne, designer John Napier and composer Lloyd Webber himself. So it feels fresh but still keeps the elements that have made it a standard.
In some ways it’s a variety show featuring star turns, a mixture of music from jazz to reggae and hip-hop.
In this version Rum Tum Tugger (Daniel Asseta) is a rapper, an urban street smart dude and that kind of makes sense, considering the cats are creatures of the street.
Brent Osborne (a Brisbane boy) and Dominique Hamilton are great in a sassy duet as Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer and James Cooper is suitably villainous as Macavity.
Jason Wasley certainly has presence as wise Old Deuteronomy and Josh Piterman’s turn as Asparagus, or Gus the theatre cat is quite moving. You should probably read a little about the show before you go because unless you are an aficionado it might be hard to get the storyline, which is spread as a narrative through a series of vignettes. It’s about, broadly speaking, redemption.
There are lots of elements that nod to Eliot, which is nice, and I hope it might inspire people to rediscover the book and then, perhaps, to go deeper into his other poems.
Because there’s more to Cats than meets the eye which is always a good thing. It may not be purr-fect but it’s very entertaining and Delta Goodrem will lift you up where you belong with her version of Memory. I personally guarantee it will send shivers up and down your spine, for all the right reasons.
IF IT WAS CRICKET IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A SIX THAT ENDED UP IN THE CAR PARK
Check out Delta’s breathtaking performance of Memory