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Trip Report:
London, May 8th-11th, 2002

(by Swan - AKA Demeter)


Back home… and this time it’s for several months. Summer coming means a lot of extra-work for me, so no London and no musicals at least until September. Oh, well, it’s okay. These last five days I spent in London were amazing, under many points of view… I will just try to drop here my most intense memories, about the show and not: forgive me if sometimes it will all seem very sentimental!

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON – THE FANS MEETING IN COVENT GARDEN
Costume fans in Covent GardenIt was amazing. I’m not a great chatter and I’m not used to speak a lot, but meeting Lisa, Pounce, Feli, Jenny, Bomby, Belle, Celtic K and the other guys was a real show. Some of them were in costume. Honestly, I don’t think that I would EVER wear a lycra costume, but seeing people who are enjoying themselves so much is always something good at heart. Children in Covent Garden were amazed and lots of people stopped to take photos of the cossy Cats Fans. A special mention for Thingy Wot, a Starlight Express fan who was wearing an Etcetera costume: she real has a great actress talent! (If you want to see many beautiful pictures of this meeting, check Feli's website; and, if you want to read another great trip report about those days, check Delilah's website).

WEDNESDAY EVENING – THE SHOW
Jack Rebaldi as MunkustrapI had a seat in the first row and I fully enjoyed the show. I loved Louisa Shaw playing Jellylorum and most of all Griddlebone, I laughed to tears. Question: WHY hiding that wonderful voice? As I said, she plays Jellylorum in a really funny way, but this often means to change her voice and deprive the audience of the emotion to hear her real voice, which emerges just in a few occurrences. But her screams and her grumbling (while leaving the stage after Growltiger tries to hide behind her when he sees the Siameses) are fantastic.
Two or three of the performers on the stage recognised me (hmmm, I believe that they thought something like “oh, that’s the Italian girl”) and gave me some flashing smiles that I’ll never forget. During “The naming of Cats” I was in front of Munkustrap (Jack Rebaldi) and Cassandra (Tiffany Graves), so, as they are my favourite performers at all, I really enjoyed that moment. Same for “The moments of happiness”, when I could clearly see Jack Rebaldi’s tears slipping down his cheeks. Unbelievable!

THURSDAY – ALL DAY LONG
London!!!!!London all for me! I walked all over it, never tired to see its buildings, theatres and palaces! A huge fight is still going on inside of me about which is the most beautiful city I ever saw… heart and memories would still like to answer Rome (hey, it was my home once), but every time I go to London, the fight is harder! Unfortunately I had a little accident in my hotel and I slightly hurt my left wrist, so I had to bandage it, but it was nothing serious (pheeeew…).

THURSDAY EVENING – THE SHOW
This time I saw it from the first row of the Dress Circle and it was a new experience, because all the other times I had been sitting in the Stalls or on the Moving Platform. Of course, seeing the show from there gives a more complete view of the choral dimension, especially in moments like “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats” or the Jellicle Ball.

FRIDAY EVENING – KID, THE SHOW AND THE LITTLE BOY
Friday was a special day at the theatre. First of all, meeting again not only the other fans, but also Kid, who was so kind to give me a ticket. For those who never met him… you’ve been deprived of something special! Same for his Spanish friend Cristina, really a very nice person. The show was fantastic, as usual, and from my seat (next to Feli) I had the chance to see a very moving scene. There was a little boy sitting in a corner seat of the first row of the Stalls (not the moving platform, I mean, but the group of rows behind), while I was in the third row, same seat as him. This boy could not walk (infact I saw him going out of the theatre, at the end of the show, with a wheelchair) and I think he had the Down’s Syndrome, or something similar… I can’t be sure. Every time the performers were passing in front of him, he smiled and tried to greet and touch them, but of course, during the show, the performers couldn’t stop too much. But, at the end of Mister Mistoffelees, when they all run between the audience, so many of them stopped in front of him, and touched and greeted him! He was so happy, and when Demeter passed by, she reached out both hands towards her. Barbara King at first just touched his hands, then seeing how he was still reaching out arms towards her, flashed him with a great smile and hugged him tight. I was really moved and clapped my hands more and more!

FRIDAY NIGHT – DINNER
After the show, as it was still very early, I didn’t want to go immediately back to my hotel, and had a walk with Rio, Lisa, Kate and Junix. Only after some minutes I understood that they were going to look for a restaurant, to have dinner together. Junix stopped in front of an Italian restaurant and asked me if I wanted to join them. Of course I said yes, but I still feel like he felt obliged to ask me… Junix, if you’re reading, I apologize! But anyway the wish to spend time with them all was strong and I had no scruples… and infact it was a fantastic dinner!!!

The New London Theatre

SATURDAY AFTERNOON – THE MATTINEE SHOW
Ah, the last live show for me! There were also my husband and our friend Filippo (who is still thanking Kid in his heart, for giving him a ticket) and we were sitting in the Dress Circle. The seats were good, because we could see clearly not only the entrance of Griddlebone, and Jemima singing her “memory” lines, but also some fragments of the backstage… cast and crew working behind the scenes! In the end, during “The addressing of Cats”, many swings were on stage, joining the other performers, and that was fantastic.

SATURDAY EVENING – THE FINAL SHOW FROM THE COVENT GARDEN SCREEN
John Partridge, as Rum Tum Tugger, on the Covent Garden screenNo tickets for the final show, so… Covent Garden, with a crowd of fans, and some rain… but it was worth seeing! We found a place straight in front of the giant screen and it was curious to see the cameras focusing on the performers’ faces… at the theatre, even if you’re in the first rows, you can’t see all the faces and make-up details, so my husband and I spent a lot of time nudging ourselves and saying “Oooh, look!”, Oooh, did you see that?”, and so on.

SATURDAY NIGHT – THE STAGE DOOR
To fan or not to fan? That was the question! There were hundreds of performers walking and chatting next to the Stage Door (I nearly bumped into Jo Gibb), but in the end I decided that, except the few ones that I already knew, I would not talk, nor ask autographs and photos. I always have some doubts about the right behaviour with the performers, who are tired after doing the show, and I usually try to be not a huge disturb for them… so I just stayed there and saw them coming and going. Time passed, and finally nobody was there anymore. The street was empty and there was silence all over. I said goodbye to some friends who were still there like me, then walked off, feeling a deep nostalgy. But also thinking that Cats opened my eyes to a whole new world that I did not know, and that now is ready for me. So many other musicals to see, so many other performers to know, so many other songs to learn! Not mentioning the future Cats UK Tour, the USA one, and so on. Enough, I guess, to be happy and not sad.

BACK HOME
No London. No show. No English net-friends. But… someone waiting for me!    :-)
My special, lovely, little queen, Morgana