The Latch

TheLatch— Reviews: Jennifer Hudson’s Performance in Cats Was Outstanding

Cross your paws – mega-movie spectacle, Cats is arriving in cinemas on Boxing Day.

And if you’re a fan of the musical, actual felines or just a sing-a-long film in general, then you’re going to love it – if you’re not a fan of any of the above, maybe best to skip this one and take yourself to see The Gentlemen instead.

The film revolves around a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and is centered around the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice,” in which one cat is chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

The live-action film is directed by Tom Hooper, best known for directing The King’s Speech and Les Misérables, and features an all-star cast including Dame Judi Dench (Old Deuteronomy), Idris Elba (Macavity), Jason Derulo (Rum Tum Tugger), Rebel Wilson (Jennyanydots), Robbie Fairchild (Munkustrap), Laurie Davidson (Mr. Mistoffelees), Taylor Swift (Bombalurina) and introducing British ballerina Francesca Hayward as Victoria.

While the ensemble cats, we mean cast, are certainly talented (they went to “Cat school” after all), there are a few stand-out performances that steal the entire film.

Playing the gluttonous Bustopher Jones, The Late Late Show host, James Corden proves that he is not only entertaining, but super talented as well.

We knew he loved musical theatre (ahem, Crosswalk Musical) , and thought he was excellent as the baker in Into The Woods, his effervescent energy, larger-than-life personality and comedic chops in Cats was just the relief the film needed.

Then there was the man who needs zero introduction, Sir Ian McKellen.

Playing Gus the Theatre Cat, McKellen’s ability to morph into a once energetic, now old and frail tabby cat, was brilliant and he can sing! Who knew?

But it was Jennifer Hudson, who played outcast and former “it” cat Grizabella – who quite simply put, stole the entire show.

The Oscar winner, who won the top gong for her role in Dreamgirls in 2007, had another show-stopping moment with her haunting rendition of Memory.

The performance was flawless, heartfelt and breathtaking – and if your audience was anything like the one I sat with, not one person moved nor spoke for its duration.

Originally sung by Elaine Paige when the musical debuted in London’s West End production in 1981, Hudson’s version was immaculate and tortured – with her acting skills coming a long way since her Sex And The City: The Movie days.

And if this performance is anything to go by, when Hudson plays Aretha Franklin in the biopic Respect, you can bet she’s going to earn herself a second Oscar nod.

Catch Cats in theatres from December 26 2019.

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