Genesius Theatre and an enchanting "Cats."

I had the good fortune of possessing a set of tickets for the performance of Cats, held August 5 at 3:30 p.m. at the Genesius Theatre in downtown Reading. The theatrical history of this show, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on a particularly witty cat-savvy text, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, by T.S. Eliot, is well known enough that I do not feel the need to retell it here. The feline characters, as portrayed by Eliot and brought to the stage by Webber, have as much to convey about human psychology as they do about the personalities and behaviors of cats.This performance by the Genesius’ talented cast was so excellent and exhilarating that I hesitate to employ as many superlatives as would be required to do verbal justice to the actual live experience. Suffice to say that it was virtually perfect. And a virtually perfect performance of Cats is an amazing event.“Virtually perfect” applies to all aspects of the Genesius Theatre’s presentation from the spot-on characterizations to the note-perfect execution of the score. The solo and ensemble songs soared upward like flights of freed doves filling the misty theater with expansive aesthetic magic. The multicolor mis-en-scene was veritably alive with rhythmic waves of gymnastic dancers. All this energy was generated within scenography that evoked at once gritty realism, whimsy, dark fantasy, strong emotion, and a sense of the miraculous. Theater is transformative by its very nature. Audiences are transported by sheer sensory overload toward plateaus of peak experience. This is most evident when there are no distracting moments of disorganization, script amnesia, or any of the many theater-specific flaws that can telegraph faulty performance. In those moments disbelief is no longer suspended and we are left with nothing but sympathy and empathy for the cast – if we are kind.Such moments did not exist in this show. What we in the audience were offered was really quite precious. We left the theater with songs in our heads, music in our ears, insights and reflections in our minds, and a plethora of other aesthetic gifts. I do believe I speak for us all in sending a resounding “Thank you all so much!” to everyone associated with this brilliant show.*Genesius Theatre images from Cats.

Comments Off on Genesius Theatre and an enchanting "Cats."

Filed under ARTology Now

Comments are closed.