Having already herded Taylor Swift, James Cordon, Jennifer Hudson and Ian McKellen, director Tom Hooper has added two new arrivals to the Cats litter.
On Wednesday it was announced that Idris Elba is to join the cast of his movie version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical as Macavity, the villain of the piece. On Friday, Judi Dench was also added, playing Old Deuteronomy, the Jellicle leader who is kidnapped by Macavity.
Deuteronomy is a role that has always been played by a man in stage versions of the musical. An ancient, wise puss who has “lived many lives in succession”, Deuteronomy commands the respect of not just his feline pals but also humans and dogs.
Based on TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show was first performed in 1981. Dench was set to play Grizabella in the original West End production, but had to withdraw from the show after snapping her achilles tendon. The part was then taken by Elaine Paige, who played the moth-eared glamour-puss to great acclaim for many years.