Friday, February 1, 2013

A Clowder of Cats

Woke up this morning to find the appalling polluted haze gone and blue sky in its wake. We could actually see Beijing's skyline for the first time in a fortnight. Instantly put us in good moods. 
Also good was receiving delivery of the UK Now book which we'd fairly hurriedly produced in the last weeks of the festival and over Christmas. Edited in Beijing, designed in London, printed in Guangdong. I'm pretty pleased with it. Nicely timed to send to all our arts contacts as Chinese New Year gifts, as well as a few hundred to contacts in the UK. 
Finished off the week with a family outing to the Chinese version of Cats of all things. I'd been given tickets by the producers, who are also planning to present Phantom and Les Mis. Not a big fan of musicals (see this, this and this), but I've never seen it and what the hell. 
Who would have thought a bunch of poems, TS Elliot's of all people, could be turned into one of the most successful musicals of all time? The story doesn't exactly lend itself. A patriarchal feline called Old Deuteronomy has to choose one representative from a clowder of cats (yes, that's the correct collective noun, I just looked it up) to make the journey up to something called the Heavy Side Lair. So the show is a series of numbers with each cat making its case for ascension. In the end, a faded glamour puss called Grizabella gets picked, sings 'Memories' a few times, and off she goes. I think this was an allegory for entering heaven, but to be honest I'd no idea what was going on for most of the time. People dressed as cats singing Andrew Lloyd Webber songs in mandarin amongst a scrapyard stage set which Einsturzende Neubaten would have felt at home in, did my head in. Still, we had a laugh dissecting it on the way home.

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