Emma Clarendon chatted to Linus about his show How To Live A Jellicle Life: Life Lessons From The 2019 Hit Movie Musical ‘Cats’, heading to the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in December.

(c)Dave Bird

Thanks so much for talking to me. Could you tell me what How to Live a Jellicle Life is about?  Thank you! I would describe “how to live a jellicle life: life lessons from the 2019 hit movie musical ‘cats'” as a jellicle Ted talk about the jellicle aspects of the jellicle cats in cats – an educational look at what makes them jellicle and how you can apply said jellicality to your own life, so that you yourself can live a truly jellicle life. 

How did the idea for the show come about? After seeing the jellicle masterpiece Cats in January 2020 I couldn’t think of anything else. I had finished the last of many runs of my previous show at the end of 2019, and had started to come up with ideas for new shows, but nothing really ignited the right level of passion in me. I started thinking about creating a jellicle show, but felt like it would be a show that only I would enjoy. My friend Sam Hopkins, who is a wonderful director, runs a scratch night and, knowing how obsessed I’d become with the 2019 hit movie musical ‘Cats’, he encouraged me to create “something Cats-related” for it. Being asked to do it made me realise that people do want and need jellicality in their lives and I felt the higher calling to be the jellicle prophet to bring it to them.

What was it in particular about the 2019 film Cats that inspired you to create the show? After watching the film I wanted, no, NEEDED to get a full understanding of the jellicle community I’d seen on screen – the relationships of the cats, the hierarchy, what it actually means to be jellicle. I needed to explore and find answers – I’d seen a world so jellicle I felt the urge to join it, and if that wasn’t an option, then at least I wanted my life to be as jellicle as possible.

What did you think of the film when you watched it? Loved it. Loved it loved it LOVED IT. I was completely blown away and could not stop thinking about it. I listened to nothing but the soundtrack every day and went back to see it in the cinema again a few days later – and it was equally as magnificent the second time around. (I’ve since learned the same can be said for the third, fourth, fifth and tenth time.)

So after the run at the Lion & Unicorn theatre you will be touring the show. Where will people be able to watch it? I can’t say too much at the moment, it is a bit of a jellicle secret and also dependent on *you know what*, but I can say that I will be going to the lovely Town and Gown theatre in Cambridge January 20-22nd, which I’m very excited about!

How would you personally describe the show?  Above all else it’s silly fun. An evening of warmth and joy and ridiculousness – the things we all need more of in 2020. You don’t even need to have seen, or enjoyed Cats to like the show – one of the reviewers from the last run said they hadn’t seen Cats, another that he didn’t like it – and they both still gave the show 5 stars in their reviews! 

By Emma Clarendon

How To Live A Jellicle Life: Life Lessons From The 2019 Hit Movie Musical ‘Cats’ will run at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre from the 15th to the 19th December.