Review: The purr-fect combination – @CatsMusical @GrandOperaHouse and @FitzwilliamBel

Fitzwilliam Hotel pre-theatre

The purr-fect evening. Pre-theatre dinner at Fitzwilliam Hotel and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats at Grand Opera House.

We started our evening at the luxurious Fitzwilliam hotel . This place does food really well, without ceremony or fuss the food and service was impeccable. I had rump steak and was cooked to perfection. The service we received was second to none. I definitely will be back again soon. The dishes were delivered in perfect timing for our show. The soundtrack to musicals was a nice touch and added to the lovely ambience and excitement for the show next door in the Grand Opera house…..

Cats Photo 2_Alessandro Pinna

Cat’s is back in town with another dazzling production! There was great anticipation amongst the audience waiting for the show to begin, as they took in the wonderfully moon lit created junk yard of a set with something interesting to discover in every corner of the stage.

As soon as the live orchestra started up a lighting display began which set the whole theatre, on and off stage, ablaze. Just to prove that this effect was not a one off in different forms it was repeated, often with startling pyrotechnics, to terrific effect many times during the evening.

Whilst that opening lighting display was going on the cast had literally crept on to the stage dressed in one of the best, and most realistic, set of animal costumes ever to grace a stage. Such costumes were not wasted on the members of this company whose every movement was as feline as the most treasured cat. The stage became full of, Tabby’s, Ginger Tom’s, Siamese, beautiful sleek, mangy, old, young and practically every other sort of cat you could imagine.

Melissa James as Bombalurina and Lily Frazer as Demeter_Photo Alessandro Pinna

The whole changing picture, with one terrific dance routine, all performed in knock out fashion, following another, was a continuing feast to the eye. I was totally captivated. One minute you were marvelling, with a smile on your lips, as bits of the set were magically turned into a working Train, smoking funnel and all, the next finding it hard to hold back a tear as Gus the old Theatre Cat reminisced about his, and the theatre’s past golden days.

This company has to be dual purpose with an ability to sing as well as they dance.

The first half might be dominated by the dancers, but Act 2 is vocally the cats whiskers, with the show stopping Macavity, Mr Mistoffelees, which also boasted some of the best solo dancing on display from Joseph Poulton, and a heart breaking rendition of Memory from Sophia Ragavelas.

Just as in life not everyone loves Cats so this unique show would not be everyone’s favourite. There isn’t really a storyline, more individual stories about different kinds of cats. But the production is just so professional and slick your just amazed by the set, the dancing and singing.

Ben Palmer as Munkustrap_Photo Alessandro Pinna

Since opening in 2009 The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast, has become the fashionable choice for visitors wanting to be a stone’s throw away from the city as well as being an urban hangout for NI’s chic party set. 

Led by Head Chef, Michael Dargan, The Fitzwilliam Hotel has also asserted itself as one of the finest eateries in the city, catering for everyone from the most serious foodies, to those wanting to drop in for a quick snack at the bar.

The Bar at the Fitzwilliam offers menus from under £10 per person and the hotel’s pre-theatre menu is priced at just £14.95 for two courses and £17.95 for three courses. Available from 5pm – 6.45pm and offering a first class service in a relaxed and sophisticated setting, the pre-theatre menu provides the perfect accompaniment to an evening of entertainment at next door’s Grand Opera House.

Why not also indulge in perfectly balanced cocktails in the sanctuary of the Fitzwilliam bar as an aperitif to your evening’s entertainment or a nightcap before heading home.

For more information about the pre-theatre menu, check out

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