Killing The Cat, 4 Stars

Killing The Cat
Riverside Studios
17th March to 22nd April 2023

“What happens when you’re falling for someone but don’t share their beliefs? What happens when you’re so sure you’re right you won’t move an inch? Does love stand a chance?In the heady world of the romantic poets, scientific theories and certainties, can lust and love keep two polar opposites together beyond the first night?Killing The Cat’ is a new transatlantic collaboration between an Anglo-American writing team and UK and US producers.  With book and lyrics by ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ writer Warner Brown and music by radical American composer Joshua Schmidt, ‘Killing The Cat’ has its world première in London this spring, prior to Off-Broadway.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 4 Stars

Rather an unpleasant title for a lovely musical. It stems from the saying “curiosity that killed the cat” and in this case refers to two personalities that have extreme and opposing opinions science or God who end up with doubts about their strong beliefs and curious to learn from each other.

Finally, a new musical that’s traditional in construct and a very welcome addition! So many of the newer musicals often feel relevant to a younger audience, this one will engage all generations. And it’s premiering here in London. Whoop whoop!

The first half is very stark and all about character setup. It could do with a faster pace and some trimming. The very interesting construct is over-drawn and predictable. It feels like a warm up band for the main event. Not even the lights establish much until the penultimate number of Act 1 “The Chemical Brain” when it becomes a lot more fun, even if too long a number.

The second half of the show is when it all comes alive in glorious technicolour, ranging from cartoon smartie colours through to mood changes and morphing in and out of live scene setting and love songs.

Lee Newby‘s Set Design is fabulous. Multiple stepped sections to each side, embedding the three live musicians, reminiscent of an amphitheatre. The build quality (Gemstage) is absolutely superb with many precision edges, even curved archway entrances, all painted white. So many surfaces at different angles which the lighting (Jamie Platt) takes full advantage and uses as a blank canvas. Tableau after tableau painted beautifully by the Design team.

The musical score is equally multi-layered with a great cast doing credit to the emotion of the piece and the harmonies. The cellist (Georgia Morse) needs special mention for her beautiful expressive portrayal throughout, even while sitting the entire time on the hard set without even a cushion.

The musicians sounded great. Huge applause for using electronic drum sets so it can all be balanced. But, the vocal sound was a little over-whelming. While balance between the the radio mics and the band worked flawlessly the production feels over-amplified with way too much echo rather than reverb giving every song an unnatural sound as if they’re yodeling in a canyon. The echo effect is turned on as soon as the music for a song starts even if the actor is still talking. The production is in early stages and a simple re-mix and re-cue could sort this.

With fourteen songs in the first half and thirteen in the second, it is a bit of an operatic extravaganza. The emotion kicks in when Connor (Joaquin Pedro Valdes) sings “I Ask Why” in the second half and the show then runs at a good pace to it’s finale.

A beautifully sung, composed and crafted musical with an interesting book.

Photo credit: Danny Kaan


Madalena Alberto, Molly Lynch, Joaquin Pedro Valdes, Tim Rogers, Kluane Saunders.
Creative team:Director Jenny EastopMovement Director Lucie PankhurstSet & Costume Designer Lee NewbyLighting Designer Jamie PlattSound Designer Oscar CotranMusical Director Billy BullivantArrangements Joshua SchmidtOrchestrations and Additional Arrangements Jen GreenCasting Director Danielle TarentoProduced by Mercurius Theatre, S&S Theatre Productions and Kent NicholsonBook and Lyrics Warner BrownRiverside Studios101 Queen Caroline StreetHammersmithLondonW6 9BN17 March – 22 April Monday -Saturday at 7.30pmWednesday and Saturday at 2.30pmPreviews 17 –22  March Fri, Sat, Mon and Tues at 7.30pm,Weds at 2.30pmTickets:General Admission £30, concessions £25Previews – all tickets £22.50(plus £1.50 per ticket booking fee)Box office9am-9pm020 8237 1010 MediaFacebook  KillingTheCatTwitter @killingthecat23Instagram killingthecat23