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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.

Au99 Circus Tent


Production Specifics

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.

In 2001, a second tent was built, this time in white, for the World Tour. In 2010, the first European tent tour started in Hamburg, Germany.

Circus Elements

Au99 Cass Group
What 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.


Production Team

Australia 2000 Program Mistoffelees01

Oliver Tóth as Mistoffelees

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

Venues

(WIP)

  • 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


Cast

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).

December 1999 Cast
Character Performer Replacement
Alonzo / Rumpus Cat Philip Darley Adam-Jon Fiorentino
Asparagus / Bustopher Jones Stephen Fisher King Mark Dickinson
Bombalurina Nicola Fraser
Cassandra Brooke Synnott
Coricopat Warwick Reid
Demeter Cara Dinley
Grizabella Delia Hannah
Jellylorum / Griddlebone Theresa Borg Helen Walsh
Jennyanydots Julie O' Reilly
Mistoffelees Oliver Tóth
Mungojerrie Markham Gannon
Munkustrap Glen Hogstrom
Old Deuteronomy Juan Jackson
Plato / Macavity Trevor Holland
Pouncival Hunter Jacques
Rum Tum Tugger Richard O' Brien
Rumpleteazer Sarah Parker Rebecca Sutherland
Sillabub Sarah Bowden
Skimbleshanks Stephen Morgante
Tantomile Tamasin Nolan Sharyn Winney
Tumblebrutus Tim Wright
Victoria Emma Delmenico
Acrobat - Admetus Jason Moore
Acrobat - Electra Belinda Allchin
Acrobat - Jemima Gina Hogan-Jones Kerryn O'Donnell
Acrobat - Quaxo Brian Gillespie
Acrobat - Victor Anton Berezin Tod Strike

Gallery

Videos

Circus Tour - The Ad-dressing of Cats

Circus Tour - The Ad-dressing of Cats

CATS 1999 Tent Tour Documentary

CATS 1999 Tent Tour Documentary