SHEILA BAKER | Theatre Critic | Contact

The artistic director of the Betoota Grove Theatre Association (BGTA) announced today that there will be no formal apology made to Andrew Lloyd Webber after the group told reporters they plan to butcher his landmark musical ‘Cats’ for the next 6 weeks.

Hyacinth Gynt, who’s been at the helm of BGTA for nearly a decade, remains unapologetic after critics panned the local production over the weekend.

With mild anticipation and fanfare, Saturday night saw all the big names in town turn out for the opening night down at the Glasshouse Theatre.

Though nobody had high expectations, this year’s offering from BGTA was especially offensive to those who hold a season Glasshouse ticket.

“It was shocking; they absolutely butchered it,” said Maria Overell, wife of The Advocate’s editor, Clancy.

“Clancy had four bottles of white wine with two smoked oysters on a Jat for tea, which is usually enough to make him feel normal but even this performance put him to sleep. The singing even made him wince in his sleep,”

“Words escape me to describe just how terrible it was. You really ought to have been there. You’ll have able opportunity, it’s got a six-week run.”

Never the less, some audience members had the opposite opinion to Mrs Overell’s.

As nearly all the performers were under the age of 18, a number of parents made it out for the occasion to cheer their youngsters on.

With a Sony HandiCam in the palm, Brett Dennison, who’s youngest Emma is playing the role of Griddlebone, said the opening night was magical.

“Em was just great,” he said.

“But if you compare her performance to say someone like Cate Blanchett or Hugo Weaving, I guess it’d be pretty shit house but we’re not, are we? This is an amateur theatre company in South West Queensland,”

“And as a 47-year-old mortgage specialist, this is about as interesting as my life will ever get. I didn’t mind.”

More to come.


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