November 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

MDI Performs Cats

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From Issue 5

MDI is currently raising $150,000 to renovate their theater.  Does that make you weep with jealous rage, GSA drama enthusiasts?  Have you seen their MDI Drama website, slicker and more functional than georgestevensacademy.org?  But here’s one for the home team: Anything Goes was better than Cats.

Cats was an ambitious choice for their fall musical.  It’s a spectacle show, dozens of performers in unitards

and faux fur leaping and lounging onstage.  MDI even employed a fog machine.  If you’re unfamiliar with the plot of Cats, understand that it has no plot.  It’s a collection of T.S. Eliot’s cat poems set to music, his only poetry that is purely silly.  MDI performed Cats with a great deal of enthusiasm, and they did the best they could.  The set was fun and the costumes were eye-catching, although the overall effect of the costumes was less cute and fuzzy and more… eighties rocker (every student sported a cheap wig sculpted or knotted into ears.  Very cute.).  But the performers themselves, in my opinion, lacked an essential cattitude.  There just wasn’t enough energy to make it work.  One must give them credit, however, for sincerely trying.

Though none of the solos or dance numbers inspired a single cheer from the audience, the show had its high notes (literally, their group numbers went up there).  Notable performers were Benjamin Stevens (Rum Tum Tugger), whose undulating hips transfixed a group of female cats during his flawless and spirited rendition of The Rum Tum Tugger; and Noah Davis (Gus), who, with shaking paws, recited The Theatre Cat with a subtlety that no one else in the cast possessed.  When all the cats were singing together in harmony, it was a beautiful sound (Music Director Bronwyn Kortge).  And their pit band was admirably on the beat and below the vocals, and featured only one trumpet.

These modern productions are all very well… but you just can’t beat a reliable script and a great plot, and the MDI performers did not have them to fall back on.  The students can’t be blamed too much for a show that didn’t hold together, but for a high school production of Cats, it’s better than you might expect.

If you want to see the show, it’s on the 18th at 7pm and the 19th at 2pm and 7pm.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors.

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