Back in April, I flew out to Las Vegas for this year's CinemaCon, where I unwittingly became one of the first people in the world to get a behind-the-scenes look at Tom Hooper's forthcoming adaptation of Cats. Our audience didn't get to see any finalized footage from the film, but we were made aware of something that was, to some people in the audience, quite a surprise: the cats in Tom Hooper's adaptation of Cats would be cat-sized.
Well. To say that readers were divided on this news would be something of an understatement. On one side of the aisle, you had folks who were just as stunned as I was to learn that gigantic furniture and oversized doorways were being erected in the name of bringing Cats to the silver screen. On the other side of the aisle: people who've actually seen Cats, and the oversized set it employs to create the illusion that the show's performers are, in fact, cat-sized. Those folks were not surprised (indeed, they seemed borderline angry to learn that the rest of us were unaware), but I maintain that what Hooper is doing with the filmed version of Cats is a world apart from seeing costumed performers capering around a single oversized backdrop.
But still: point taken, internet.
Cut to: a month or so later. My colleague, Amelia Emberwing, casually mentioned that she'd just seen Cats live on tour, in Denver. It wasn't long before my Trying Times co-host and I had secured our own tickets to a performance in Austin. Imagine my luck! Here it was, a perfectly good opportunity to find out what Cats is (we literally knew nothing about it going in) and a perfectly stupid thing to do for the show. That's a win-win, folks.
Did we enjoy Cats? We did not. But did seeing Cats allow us to better understand Cats and Cats fandom? Also no. We were deeply annoyed by Cats, baffled as to how it might have enjoyed such incredible success over the years. And so, when our friend Mallory O'Meara (author of the recent best-seller The Lady From The Black Lagoon) mentioned that she'd seen Cats twice (twice!), we knew we had to have her on to talk about it. Clearly she was an authority, and maybe she'd be able to explain to us what the fuck a "jellicle" is.
What follows is that conversation. All 90-or-so minutes of it. It's entirely devoted to Cats. Enjoy.