ROBERT Gordon’s College Primary 7 actors and technical team opened their two-night run last week with their spectacular all-singing, all-dancing production of CATS at MacRobert Hall.
It is the biggest production ever to have been performed by the Junior School, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on ‘Old Possum’s book of Practical Cats’, by T.S. Eliot.
The musical begins with Victoria (played by Darcey McDonald, age 12), a young white cat, dancing to signal ‘The Invitation to The Jellicle Ball’. Munkustrap (played by Cameron Morrison, age 12), a large grey tabby, explains that the Jellicle Cats meet once a year to rejoice.
And so begins our introduction to the cats. One by one they step forward to audition for the Jellicle Choice: to be chosen to make the special journey to be reborn.
Amongst the tribe, Grizabella (played by Dara Gbenle, age 11), The Glamour Cat, is shunned by the rest despite being a Jellicle Cat.
She left the tribe years ago to explore the outside world and now wants to return to rejoin her family and be a part of the celebration. She is left to contemplate her “Memory” of the time before she left the tribe. She stretches out her hand behind her, hoping another cat will touch her. She is still not accepted.
However, there is a twist: time has come for Old Deuteronomy (Connor Smith, age 12) to make the Jellicle Choice and decide which cat will be reborn into a new Jellicle life.
At that moment, Grizabella reappears. Again she recalls her ‘Memory’ of how things used to be and this time the cats accept her back into the tribe and it is she who is chosen to Journey to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn.
Mrs Elizabeth Rose, show director/choreographer and Miss Amanda Watt, music director, said: “CATS has been the biggest production we have ever taken on here in the Junior School and we cannot believe how brilliantly the children have responded to this challenge.
“Their commitment and mature attitude during rehearsals has made for a very happy and enriching experience for everyone involved. We couldn’t feel more proud of their hard work and the final performances they have shared with their school community.”
Dara Gbenle, who played Grizabella, said: “I loved every moment of it. I forgot about everyone else and just enjoyed singing and dancing. I couldn’t sing to a couple of people before and now I feel more confident.”
Cameron Morrison, who played Munkustrap, added: “It has been so exciting and a very big task. We are all proud of what we did and I can’t wait to get involved in the next one.”
Hugh Ouston, head of college, was among an enthusiastic first night audience: “The pupils put on an amazing show. The costumes, the singing and the choreography were of a consistently high standard. Primary 7 can be very proud of CATS; the quality of drama and music at Gordon’s keeps getting better and better.”
Mrs Mollie Mennie, head of Junior School, said: ‘This past week has been absolutely magical and filled with fun. Over 80 of our Primary 7 pupils transformed themselves into T.S. Eliot’s famous cats and performed a musical version for parents, friends and community. The link between T.S. Eliot’s poetry and our music and drama production very much aligns with the current educational thinking of Curriculum of Excellence.”
Robert Gordon’s College received a public few words of encouragement via YouTube from theatre actress, Jo Gibb, who is best known for her role of Rumpleteazer in the West End and video production of CATS, expressing her warmest support towards the Primary 7s.
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Contact: Shelley Lee