Review: Stunning and 'purrfect' performance of smash hit musical Cats is a must see

Basics Theatre School cast of Cats on stage captured by photographer Andy Ford.
Basics Theatre School cast of Cats on stage captured by photographer Andy Ford.

Musical genius Andrew Lloyd Webber turned it into a smash hit West End musical in 1981.

It has been presented in 30 countries, translated into 15 languages and seen by more than 73 million people worldwide.

And this month it is the turn of Burnley's Basics Theatre School seniors to present their version of the musical Cats.

And wow do they present it!

The energy, talent and enthusiasm of these youngsters had the audience on their feet cheering for more on the opening night at Colne's Hippodrome Theatre.

I love musicals but this was my first introduction to Cats and the talent of those teenagers on that stage blew me away. The 200 hours of rehearsals was clear to see as the show is a non stop journey of music, song and dance.

Loosely draped over T S Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats the 32 strong cast, none of them older than 18, gave a blistering, perfect performance, portraying the many different cats that live together on the streets of London.

One of the show's highlights was Anna Hunt's rendition of the classic song Memory which won her a standing ovation.

Special mention must also go to the make-up team of Daniella Burns, Jackie Dearn, Holly Caldwell and Kayla Holland, choregrapher Helen Cheung and musical director Andrew Mitchell and his orchestra. The live score absolutely made the musical.

And of course a special mention must go out to Sally Murtagh,who founded Basics in 1986 with her late husband Dennis. I was wondering where they company had bought all the amazing costumes from when in fact Sally made every single one of them herself.

Once again Basics have pulled off a terrific show that is a real must see.

Performances are nightly at 7.30pm all this wek with a Saturday matinee at 2pm. To book tickets go to basicsjuniortheatre.co.uk.

The cast are: Morgan Stephenson, Madeleine Callaghan-Aunger, Grace Root, Charlotte Martin, Maddison Reilly, Faith Simpson, Amy Doherty, Paris Ellis, Elise O'Brien, Charlotte Saunders, Emilie Chadwick, Ella Lancaster, Anna Hunt, Beatrix Higginson, Tilly Clapham, Aaron Hipgrave-Lewis, Luke Holmes, Avalon Keenan, Eugene Griffin, Grace Hall, Jackson Palmer, Luke Esden, Olivia Webster, Jay Murray, Katie Lister, Claudia Bentham, Jack Roche, Owen Bradley, Lois Duffy, Elizabeth Saunders, Grace Gilbert and Kasey Fielding.