Cert PG Stars 2

This big budget big screen version of Andrew Lloyd’s Webber long running musical is only saved from catastrophe by the quality of its cast, most of whom deserve so much better.

The threadbare plot sees a tribe of cats get together in a ruined theatre to see which cat will be chosen ascend to the ‘Heaviside Layer’, i.e. heaven, and come back to a new life.

Idris Elba’s evil cat, Macavity is desperate to be chosen, and is kidnapping his competition and dumping them on a barge in the Thames.

Director Tom Hooper has form with musicals, I’ve only just recovered from his 2012 adaption of Les Miserables, and now he’s returned to terrorise me again with this.

Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Idris Elba do their considerable best to make it bearable, James Corden and Rebel Wilson are a unique form of horror at the best of times, and Jason Derulo maintains his reputation as an American Olly Murs.

And you’ll have to brace yourself for the unrestrained vigour with which Jennifer Hudson belts Memory, a performance which will linger in your ear drums for a long while.

The 1980’s synth heavy production of the music is put to shame by Taylor Swift’s additional new song, Beautiful Ghosts, which is an oasis of quality, especially when heard alongside to Lloyd Webber’s turgid and interminable tunes.

And even being given a diva’s introduction at the beginning of the shows best original number, Macavity – The Mystery Cat, she should still be looking for a new agent for having allowed herself to be involved in this kitty litter of a flick.

I’ve no idea why they’ve squandered on much money on the ‘digital fur technology’, as it still looks as if the cast are leaping around in makeup and furry costumes. At least the set designers seemed to have fun.

Fans of musical theatre will possibly lap it up, though the kids in my preview screening were noticeably quiet throughout, and it left me feline embarrassed for all concerned.