I saw “Cats”, this lame and leaden piece of kiddie street theatre, at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York, in 1995. Incredibly, it’s still running, although probably not on Broadway. The book was done by T. S. Eliot in a juvenile mood, and confirms what we’d hitherto suspected: that Old Tom wasn’t too flash in the humour stakes. The poems are poor. The ‘animation’ is becalmed. The songs are ho-hum (at least Grizabella’s stand-out number, “Memory” is drawn from some of Tom’s good poetry). The feline characters mooning about the body of the theatre are annoying. If Gus, the Theatre Cat, had to sit through this, he would yawn, goose-step out of the Winter Garden and saunter into the alley. I did that, ate a good meal at Hudsons, and got sloshed at the Plaza.
So, think twice when the cats slink in to your town! Remember the amusing scenario postulated by Will Smith, pretending to be Sidney Poitier’s son in Six Degrees of Separation, when he claimed Dad was explaining how “Cats” couldn’t be filmed, when he saw how, in fact, it could. It’s a sublime moment of rare irony in American film. I know how you could film it! You’d film it as feral feline snuff film. Only kidding. The cats from “Cats” might be asking for it, but Miron shan’t be shot…no, Miron shall not be shot…
Miron sat and watched from the warmth of his couch,
And wondered about all those critics who grouch
Over puerile and heavily priced Broadway shows
That open so blithely and deserve to soon close.