This is a tale of two love stories running parallel: one between the cats Puss and Tabs; and the other between their owners, the hero and heroine. Puss inveigles himself into the life of a young, romantic hero by offering his services as a valet. Together they lead a life of excess, staying up late and cheating at card games. Enter the heroine: a beautiful young woman imprisoned in a tower by her rich, cruel husband who has tied a string to her foot so that he can sense her every move. To Puss’s disgust, his master falls in love with the heroine but upon noticing its deleterious effect on his master, decides to concoct a plot to bring the two together. Running concurrently with this is a fun and flirty feline love affair, with some charming frisky dances and purrfect mewing from the two actors.
The boots in the classic fairy tale become white and neon orange high-tops, a nod to the youthfulness and exuberance of the young, all-female cast, who sing (some original songs and snippets of popular classics) and dance throughout with great energy. Inspired by Angela Carter’s own reimagining of the classic fairy tale, this production focuses on dance and movement, updating the boots, and drawing attention to feet throughout, both overtly and with some deft cartwheeling. At times the musical interludes lacked polish and the choice of pop songs is occasionally uninspired – their original songs were more interesting.
I was charmed by the show. The cast displays great potential – although the Chorus is underused despite being often on stage - and their energy and the pace of the drama is enough to hold audience attention. Special mention should go to the cats - played by Amy Kennedy and Amy Adair - and the Hag, played by Demetra Papa-Adams, a superb comic actor. Big Shoes Theatre Company is based in Redland High School for Girls in Bristol, though still very young the entire cast are confident and assured. Big shoes, easily filled.