Feminem chats about starring in a new productions of ‘Cats’

Feminem was recently named Entertainer of the Year at the Proud Awards but the talented drag performer, singer and DJ’s talents are showcased on stages way beyond the queer scene, she’s currently treading the boards in a local production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats.

Dean Misdale (aka Feminem) dropped by radio show All Things Queer on RTRFM recently and chatted to Graeme Watson about all things feline.

So tell me, did you grow up loving Cats?

I have never seen the stage show live…

No way!

the whole way. It was, funnily enough, never a musical that was on my radar, which is funny because I’ve done plenty of Lloyd-Webber shows, but Cats is one that somehow fell under my radar.

What did you know of it, what was your touch-point for Cats – Memory?

Obviously Memory and the stereotypical costumes from the show that everybody knows, the spandex, the unitards, the makeup and the wigs.

That was about it, I really didn’t know anything about it.

We did Cats at my dancing concert in 1987, in spandex, a lot of makeup, it had to be after the interval to get all the makeup on  and a lot of teased hair.

Our version is going to be slightly reimagined, we’re losing the unitards – thank God. We’re wearing lots of bright colours, there’s lots of faux furs.

The makeup is kind of inspired by more of a Dr Seuss take on it, so lots of bright colours. The same with the hair, the wigs we’ve been playing around with are really bright colours. So it’s going to be quite modern.

I find it a really intriguing musical, because one of its big things when it first came on it the ’80s was the spectacle of it, the actual staging of it. Everything was really big and people were being cats.

As time has gone, now we have flying cars in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, we have people dancing upside down on the stage in Mary Poppins, now even the helicopter from Miss Saigon looks a bit naff. 

Now when we go and look at Cats that spectacle part is not so much a spectacle, but the music – it’s the most catchy, stick in your brain musical of all time.

We’ve just started rehearsals and Jellicle Cats has been in my brain for four days.

And it’s going to be there for the next seven months.

There are a lot earworms in this, which can’t be said for a lot of modern musicals I must say.

Well I’ve always said a great musical is one where you know the music already – you walk in knowing the songs, something like Oliver.

A great musical if you haven’t seen it before you walk back to your car humming the tunes, and then there are others like Ghost The Musical where by the time you reach the car park you’ve forgotten the tunes.

The only number I remembered from Ghost is the one that Ota May does, but I certainly couldn’t hum it after the show. It was an interesting show for sure.

What is about the tunes in this musical though that make them so catchy, because I’m not kidding – they are going to be stuck with them.

I have no idea, there’s a couple of songs in the show which are just stupid, good, fun. You can’t help but bop along to them. There’s just a light hearted, almost childlike quality to them, they create a euphoria that just gets them nailed in your brain and you can’t get rid of them.

Who are you going to be in Cats? Which cat do you get to be?

I’m going to be performing Old Deuteronomy, even though I’m not that old., but again, we’ve reimagined him slightly, he’s going to look slightly steam-punk-ish.

My colour palette is black and white, and greys and silvers. I get to sing The Moment of Happiness which is one of the most beautiful songs in the show, and then I get to take the lead on the finale.

While you’re rehearsing this, have you become obsessed with looking at cats?

No, definitely not, I’m not a cat person.

You haven’t been hanging out at the cat cafe?

No definitely not, at this stage of rehearsals we’re only blocking, but once we get into choreography I presume I’ll be learning to move like a cat.

Well cats are usually stuck and demanding, you can just say you’re in character.

I do have a reputation to uphold.

Well check in after the show to see if you’ve got a kitten.

Definitely not.

Cats is playing at the Quarry Amphitheatre from November 6th-16th. Head to RTRFM to listen to the audio of the full interview.