TWO words: weird and wonderful. By my own long-standing admission this is not my favourite Lloyd Webber creation.

It really is a series of sketches about cats with a barely detectable storyline, and not being a cat lover doesn’t help! So that’s the ‘weird’ element, admits Andrew Powell.

However Redditch Operatic Society with Director James Baldwin at the helm came up with a magical show which was professionally executed in every aspect.

And that’s the ‘wonderful’ bit.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, but by his own admission, the enormously successful Cats is essentially a series of sketches describing the attributes of a bizarre selection of felines, loosely based on TS Eliot’s book of poems entitled Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

And of course it sky-rocketed the career of a certain Elaine Paige in the West End.

Visually the show is stunning – the costumes and make-up are astonishing, while the attention to detail in identifying each cat must have been painstaking, but certainly paid off. I had the fortune of sitting in the front row, so had the pleasure of cats leering into my face for part of the performance leaving me not knowing quite where to look, but it all added to the intimacy that made the presentation come alive.

Musically and for me, the best parts of the whole show were the duet performances, probably the best being Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer.

The pair were magical together and Caitlin Moonan as the latter was slick in every sense of the word. Entrancing!

In the second half The Ballad of Billy M’Caw, comprising John Reeves as Gus, William Beldham as Growltiger and and Kelly Mitchell as Griddlebone, was superb, closely followed by Macavity the Mystery Cat with the excellent Sophie Hill as Demeter and Kelly Forrester as Bombalurina.

The Elaine Paige part (scruffy outcast Grizabella, who eventually makes it to heaven) was played by Laura Woodall, and when considering the large boots she had to fill, performed ‘Memory’ to huge and well deserved applause.

In fact everyone performed extremely well – too many cats to mention individually, but all with their own character.

Am I converted?

On the strength of this performance I’m a long way towards it.

I do understand the plot a little more now, but I’m anxiously awaiting a musical about dogs!