The sight of cast members of Cats, in full make-up, prowling around the Covent Garden piazza yesterday, was a reminder that these exotic creatures will soon be no more, as the original production is about to close forever.
The show calls it a day on a very special anniversary — it's twenty-first birthday — on Saturday, May 11.
A perennially popular family musical, it has been an extraordinary money making machine for composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, producer Cameron Mackintosh, and for Faber & Faber, the publishers of T. S. Eliot's whimsical set of poems on which Cats is based.
As a tribute to the show, there will be a live relay of the last performance on Saturday, in Covent Garden Piazza, in a similar vein to those from the Royal Opera House that are such a popular summer feature in Covent Garden— people picnic on the cobblestones and watch the show.
A nice final touch to the live screen relays of opera is when the cast emerge from the side of the building to take a curtain call with the promenaders in the Piazza. The New London Theatre is a little further away, but perhaps the Cats cast will be able to whiz down Drury Lane and Bow Street to say good-bye: a purrrfect end to an enormously popular show, and one that would echo the lines of Cats' most famous song, "Memory": "Midnight. Not a sound from the pavement. . ." At about half past ten, the cast may well be on the street, but they'll be far from alone, and their "days in the sun" will have lasted an amazing, record-breaking 21 years.