Bailey: Why “Cats” didn’t live up to expectations

January 27, 2020

I saw “Cats” on Broadway in 2017, and though it’s far from my favorite musical, I came to appreciate the creative dances and some of the more noteworthy tunes. Unfortunately, this show has transformed from a Broadway classic into one of the biggest box-office disasters of the decade.

As a classical ballet dancer, I was solely excited to watch Francesca Hayward, a principal dancer in the Royal Ballet. While her balletic movements were clearly graceful, Hayward’s human feet lined with cat fur were not touching the ground during her dance scenes. Each and every actor-turned-feline floated freakishly above the floor. This was not part of the so-called magical *Jellicle cat tribe; the CGI was simply awful.

As the movie trudged along, I began to devour my Sour Punch Straws to distract myself from the many awkward celebrity appearances. Rum Tum Tugger’s song was nothing more than Jason Derulo belting his signature high notes; Jennanydots the Gumbie Cat’s (Rebel Wilson) song featuring a kick-line of cockroaches was bizarre; and, Bombalurina’s (Taylor Swift) long-awaited scene was overhyped; I was bored during her song “Mccavity: The Mystery Cat.” 

The most scarring scene for me, however, was when Macavity the Mystery Cat (Idris Elba) took off his trench coat; his CGI cat fur clearly was not executed properly, as he appeared more naked and exposed than any of the other Jellicles. All nine members in the audience began to laugh hysterically, and shortly thereafter, four people walked out of the theater.  

There were only five survivors left.

With its all-star cast, many believed “Cats” was going to be a sure-fire hit; however, the only thing the film succeeded in doing was giving me nightmares. Of the countless Broadway shows I have seen that have then become movies, this was by far the worst one. 

I advise movie-goers to not fall asleep during “Cats,” but rather to sit back and laugh with other audience members at its horrific, albeit hysterical glory. 

*Side note: Even though the phrase was repeated endlessly in the film, I still have no idea what a “Jellicle cat” actually is. 

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