The Cats Circus Tour - or CATS - Run Away to the Circus, as it was officially called - was the first production of Cats that was played in a big top. It toured through Australia from 11 Dec 1999 to 24 Feb 2001. Because the show took place in a circus tent, the audience sat around the stage, similar to the original London production at the New London Theatre. The tent was much bigger than a usual big top; it had c. 2000 seats.
This production introduced new wig designs for Mungojerrie, Rumpleteazer, Rum Tum Tugger, Victoria and Electra. While the other three were retained for future productions, Victoria's ringlet wig and Tugger's shorter more 90s rock wig were reverted to their older designs during the course of the tour.
Many of the actors were also known from other Cats productions. Jason Moore, Delia Hannah and Nicola Fraser had all been on previous Australian tours. Oliver Tóth had been seen in Belgium and Hamburg, Matthew Pike had also performed in Hamburg before. Sharyn Winney, who played Tantomile, Markham Gannon, and Brian Gillespie could later be seen on the Asia-Pacific Tour.
Circus ElementsWhat was special about the production were the special circus elements in the show, created by director Jo-Anne Robinson and acrobatic trainer Scott Grayland. There were two trapezes instead of one and they were much more often used than in usual productions of Cats; especially during the Prologue and the Jellicle Ball. Also other acrobatic elements that are known from circus shows, e.g. slack wire, ball balancing, tumbling and bungee, had been included. Therefore, the cast had to learn such skills during a 3 month workshop. Director Jo-Anne Robinson spent some time in China before, working with circus acrobats.
Mungojerrie played the role of the 'circus captain' who directed the other cats who had the role of the main circus performers: Munkustrap, Tumblebrutus, Admetus and Quaxo. Griddlebone was introduced via slackrope.
Adapted Direction & Choreography: Jo-Anne Robinson (after Trevor Nunn & Gillian Lynne)
Associate Designer: Raymond Huessy (after John Napier)
Circus Co-ordinator: Scott Grayland
Production Musical Supervisor: Guy Simpson
Assistant Choreographer: Tia Propocz
Associate Costume Designer: Suzy Strout (after John Napier)
Resident Director: John Hackett
Producers: Really Useful Productions, in association with Cadbury
- 11 December 1999
- Samuel Sherlock Reserve, Frankston, VIC, 3 January 2001
- Ampitheatre, Gateway Island, Wodonga, VIC, 10 January 2001
- Bolton Park, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 17 January 2001
- Aerodrome Ovals, Mildura, VIC, 24 January 2001
- Weroona Oval, Bendigo, VIC, 31 January 2001
- North Gardens, Ballarat, VIC, 7 February 2001
- Vansittart Park, Mt Gambier, SA, 14 February 2001
- Harris Street Reserve, Warrnambool, VIC, 21 February 2001
The cast was comparatively large. The ensemble consisted of 28 cats, including Electra, Victor, Jemima, Quaxo and Admetus as chorus kittens/acrobats (while Sillabub, Mistoffelees and Plato also existed as main cast roles).