Did You Watch CATS?

Post by Mark

The blog “Ladies who do lunch in Kuwait” posted a review on their experience watching CATS at the newly opened Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre. I’d say the review leaned towards being negative more than the positive. The main issues they had were the upper level seats being so far away from the stage, the value of the tickets, the super long lines to the restroom and the snack stand as well as the difficulty getting to the fountain/restaurants area of the park after the show was over. You can check out their impressions [Here]

Did you watch CATS? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

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39 comments, add your own...

  1. meh says:

    I don’t see those to be issues at all. There is always a long line for women’s toilet. That’s a fact of life unfortunately.

    The only thing I would agree is the signage and directions could be better.

    From my experience, I found the chairs to be uncomfortable at all. I dunno if these come standard for theaters.

    Another thing was that they had sound/light engineers with their brightly lit equipment right in the middle of the theater and in front of some people who paid a lot of money to see the show properly. They did offer to SOME of those people who were directly in front of the engineers to change seats to the more expensive sections, but what about the rest?

    • SA says:

      I was one of the people sitting directly behind the sound/light engineers and I could only see the stage above their shoulders. When we asked the organizers to move us they said we could move to the very back of the section since there were some seats available. They were extremely rude and they made it seem as if it was our mistake that we purchased those seats and that there was nothing they could do about it. The seats behind the equipment should NOT have gone on sale or they should have been priced mush less than 100 KD. Disappointing experience.

      • meh says:

        If every show needs its own sound/light equipment, then that’s a major problem for those seats, as they are sold as premium.

  2. Sacha72 says:

    I watched it with my husband on Friday. We were very excited to have a Broadway show come to Kuwait as we are big fans of Broadway shows. The show was beautiful. It started around 20:15 instead of 20:00 but we didn’t mind as we were delayed due to a car accident on the Gulf Road. We were surprised by the many empty seats. More than half of the theater was empty. We purchased the premium tickets for KD100 each(Pricey) & were seated less than 10 rows from the stage but the view wasn’t that great as the seats aren’t really on a slope so we had to crank our necks up to see. What bothered me the most was the bright light coming from the Exit sign on the wall which shone all through the show & wasn’t dimmed. Another thing if you are wearing high heels try to find a spot in the parking near the entrance of the theater coz if you don’t there is a long walk till the entrance. There are electric walkways but if you are late it’s a long distance to run (in high heels) especially if you think you won’t get in because they close the doors 15 minutes before the start of the show as written on the ticket!!! Good thing they didn’t close those doors 😜

    • aaa says:

      We were surprised by the many empty seats

      We purchased the premium tickets for KD100 each(Pricey)

      Found your empty seat issue! I personally wanted to see it but the pricing is way too much for where it is – and the “Cheap” 40KD tickets from friends who have gone had a horrible view. It’s accepted that if you watch a play the cheap seats have bad views but 40KD is already very expensive

  3. Neil says:

    For me the 20KD seats on Saturday were an absolute treat and I enjoyed it! It was my first experience watching a musical though I used to work in R&D for the manufacturer of keyboard synthesizers used in all Andrew Lloyd Webber productions.. though I have to confess that for me personally I might have been disappointed if I had paid Any more than 20KD. So I’m not surprised by the negativity. I hope more such shows come to kuwait ..

  4. Ed says:

    I’ve been to the cats show, however just need to clarify to people that people have different tastes and if you don’t like plays you won’t enjoy the shows no matter what and I personally don’t like plays.

    However below are my comments:

    1- There are no signs to illustrate which parking to use since you may end up parking in the wrong place.

    2- It was over priced

    3- the sound quality wasn’t that great

    4- playback of songs instead of singing live.

    5- lightning wasn’t that good since it didn’t create the effects required and sometimes missed the characters

    6- of you are all the way at the back you would haven’t enjoyed anything due to the sound and view .

    7- the exit or emergency lights are too bright.

    9. Lots of empty seats.( they should’ve upgraded people to the front rows) the control room was moved to the middle of the hall

    8- I agree with people drinks are expensive and taste terrible they should get starbucks or caribou instead.

    However everything else was well organized inside the culture center all staff were helpful smiling and professional.

    • Dilbert says:

      +1 to everything you said; and

      9- The gate to the park/restaurants needs to be left open. The gate is on the right of the theatre from the side facing Gulf Road. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why they’d kept it locked on Saturday afternoon.

      It takes less than 5 mins to reach the park/restaurants if you walk through the side gate vs. a good 10 to 15 mins if you loop around the back.

  5. dfine says:

    5 girls, 5 tickets to CATS, Friday night

    We had a f… experience to just find the place, ended up parking in the wrong location and was directed to walk along the road in heels for a at least a K. One picked up the car while we waited, drove up to the security just for him to direct us back out on the street. And we had to do the whole turn around again. WHAT A MESS. No signage no nothing. Finding our seats was also as difficult, no one knew and no signage’s to direct us.

    Finally reach 5 min past show was supposed to start. We had gotten a nice VIP booth upgrade from a friend and was pump up with the thought. In my opinion it was way to far away from the stage for such a price. Noting that we sat just next to the VVVIP booth. Strange design SSH.

    Seats was small, and I am sure some large dude will feel he is sitting in economize seat on a plane. Not on a 125 KD seat in opera house. Hence they need to reduce the prices.

    After 10 Min I get an emergency call and text from a project I am working on. Super urgent. I don’t answer my silent call, but starts texting. Prior we were told not to film or record the performance, it was forbidden. After first text I get a red laser beam straight in my face from some security dude across the hall. Not one time, all the time while I am texting. Clearly with my head down in the screen. After some time, I am pissed and gives him the finger and continue working.

    X min later one dude shows up and ask my friend if I am filming, I am still with my head down in the screen. She tells him I am working at it is urgent. Afraid I will see him, because she knows I will chew his head of at this stage. Sorts the work related issue and continue watching the show.. have no clue what I am watching at this point, since for the last hour it was been pretty f…. up.

    Thumps up for trying Kuwait, you still have a long way to go when it comes to deliver the complete package, but bonus for effort..

    • Nada says:

      This behavior is also applied in shows in New York & London. I once was shouted at a show in London, where there were about to escort me outside the stage.

    • Anon says:

      That’s rude. If you have to use your phone, you should leave the theater. The light from your screen is distracting.

      • dfine says:

        I don’t know what is more distracting, me leaving and coming or a small light. Plus we sat in our own booth no one around except us 5 girls. And they know my situation, so no not rude at all.

        • S says:

          Why do you feel you are entitled to be above the rules? You wouldn’t even dare behave in such a rude and obnoxious manner in a theatre in New York or London. If you did you’d be kicked out.

          This guy was doing his job.

  6. Nada says:

    I went to saturday’s show.
    The whole experience was fine, but:
    1) the Ladies loo was long during the break.
    2) the variety of the food wasn’t enough.
    3) the whole experience of watching the show, is that after 10 years you tell your kids that you watched it.
    4) I purchased the 40KD tickets, it was fair enough, However, the seats were much comfortable better then seats in London (cheap areas).
    5) the staff were friendly.

  7. The other Ed says:

    If you had asked me if I would ever watch a Tony award winning musical in Kuwait a year ago…

    It was a lovely experience and I hope it did well enough to encourage shows of a similar caliber to visit the area.

    Yes, you can mention the sound issues and the prices and the queues but this is common at most theaters globally. And considering that the National Theater at JACC is just finding its feet, I chose to overlook it.

    My only recommendation is the signage at the JACC needs massive improvement as it is thoroughly lacking right now.

    Dining alongside the fountains was also lovely (on a side note, does anyone know if the song played at the 7.30 fountain show is sung by Andrea Bocelli? It was magical!)

    All in all, the evening reminded why I love living in Kuwait and want nothing but the best for it.

  8. meh says:

    Seems like there are sound issues in the cheap area.

    • aaa says:

      40KD is not “Cheap!” That’s the problem. You always expect the lower priced tickets to be a worse experience but the most popular show in the world right now sells their tickets starting at 40KD, and that’s after a price hike because they couldn’t meet demand.

      Average Broadway prices are less than that, and we’re talking about Broadway

      • meh says:

        The lowest priced area = Cheap area

        Honestly the price for me was not worth the overall experience, but one must think the money paid to bring them and also the cost of the center itself.

  9. cajie says:

    I watched an award winning Broadway show in KUWAIT.

  10. Tim says:

    Firstly, Kudos to JACC for making the effort to bring a touring, international show to Kuwait. The performance was impressive, the acoustics very good and the seats pleasantly comfortable. But the reality is that the Cultural Centre is not ready to host guests. Signage is awful, as everyone agrees and the focus has clearly been on making a building that looks ‘stunning’ instead of one that is focused on the quality of the performance space for performers AND the audience.

    The lighting rig also seemed to lack enough light from in front of the stage making the production hard on the eye from he seats far back and up high. Or maybe it’s just my eyes are getting old!

    There are just so many odd choices that have been made in the design of the space. I have never been to a theatre where seat numbers are not sequential from one end to the other. Starting numbers in the middle of a row and doing odd numbers one direction and even numbers the other is bizarre – and not helpful for swiftly seating audience members on arrival. And why the balcony levels need to be so far back from the stage is just plain bad theatre design.

    In my opinion the seats on the top level should be 10kd or less (West End prices) as the view is really not good. We were sat in the front row and had the security railing completely restricting our view unless we leant forward uncomfortably or peered underneath it. For 20kd (or twice that on evening shows) trying to enjoy a performance that way is not easy. Really bad design.

    The same is somewhat true of Dubai Opera House. This penchant for the Middle East to build HUGE, lavish buildings is not really practical for a space that is supposed to be about the Art on stage – and the audience’s ability to engage with it.

    As much as I love to have the opportunity to see such shows in Kuwait, at last, I strongly believe Art and Culture should not be an elite sport for the rich and will not be returning to this venue unless prices are lowered, at least for what are clearly ‘the cheap seats’ by design.

  11. Buzz says:

    I don’t like musicals so this is a non-issue for me. However, given the low attendance as reported here, I wonder about the future prospects of events of this kind. What are the reasons for the low attendance, is it just the cost of the tickets or simply people in these parts don’t like these types of shows? What was the attendance like in Dubai and Qatar, for example?

    • Mark says:

      Well an English musical isn’t gonna attract the mass, it’s gonna attract an audience similar to my readers and we’re not the majority. Quality over quantity.

      • Buzz says:

        True, but if this keeps up, it would become economically infeasible to bring these types of acts in the future unless, of course, the government decides to subsidize them. Speaking of which, who is the sponsor of this show? Is it the government or the private sector?

        • Mark says:

          I believe it was JACC who dealt with them directly, so basically the government. If it was private then the company that brought them in would have publicized the hell out of themselves with their branding on all the posters.

      • meh says:

        The day and time I went to had a pretty good turnout, and there were all sorts of people expats, Kuwaitis, hijabs, ghutras , suits.

        But it seems the rest of the timings didn’t attract much of a crowd, which only means most of the year we’re gonna have arabic wailing concerts.

      • zaydoun says:

        I was told the afternoon/matinee shows were absolutely packed whereas the evening shows were up to 70-80% full

    • Melissa says:

      I attended the show in Dubai, and paid the same price for the cheapest seats. The cast and crew is from London, the director is the original director of the West End production, the set and the costumes were really well done, of course the tickets will be pricey! I thought the view I had in Dubai was better though. The place was packed with admittedly mostly expats. When I saw it in Kuwait the entire row of Kuwaitis behind me were talking the whole first act, some of the other expats snapped at them for being on their phones, and then they left during intermission. One of them flat out said that the only reason they were there was to say that they had gone to the opera. To be fair, Cats was probably a bad choice for Kuwait, since even Westerners have some difficulty following the storyline. I have to agree with what others have said though, JACC isn’t really ready or set up for a big show. The signs, the staff didn’t know where the seats were and weren’t helpful at all, the whole layout of the building was illogical and made for some unnecessarily long walks. At the Dubai Opera House the whole experience was so much better, plus we were just a short walk from Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa.

  12. Sulaiman-COOKIEE says:

    Guys I think the prices are so high for this show only, I looked at other shows and they were starting at 10 and premium were at 30 which for me is pretty good tbh.

  13. Abdulla says:

    1) it is unfair to judge the tickets price as being too high – in NYC you can get tickets for 1/2 the stated price but that system has not caught on BE GRATEFUL THIS WAS KUWAIT’S FIRST ATTEMPT AT BROADWAY
    3) as for pre-recorded songs and not sung live ….. BE GRATEFUL THIS WAS KUWAIT’S FIRST ATTEMPT AT BROADWAY

    • k says:

      ffs will you calm your tits abdulla

    • You’re right, this is Kuwait’s first attempt at Broadway, but why then were the prices comparable to a show in the West End?

      As for the pre-recorded vocals, I’d be like BBHMM.

      If Bernadette Peters was up on stage and she pre-recorded her vocals, I’d cause a commotion. I wanna hear the woman sing!

      It’s a musical for G-d’s sake! Having pre-recorded vocals totally defeats the purpose.

    • I mean, I remember my friends paying less than KD 20 to see Beauty & The Beast the Musical in Paris (of all cities) a few years ago and they had bubkis to complain about!

      No, Abdulla, I’m sorry but saying that its the country’s first attempt is not a good enough excuse I’m afraid.

      If they knew they were gonna be struggling, and from what we can read on here, they apparently did, they should have made some concessions.

      Complimentary drinks, maybe? Cheaper tickets? Something.

      Customer care and service is so lacking here in the country that the general thought is “we can fuck you over and be rude to you in our stores and have rats running down the aisles because hundreds are still gonna come and you do not matter!”

      Two of the few establishments here where I felt validated as a customer were St. Almakan and Asha’s.

      • zaydoun says:

        It is not the “country’s first attempt”; that would mean a locally produced event… It’s a touring production that visits different countries with all their setups. So if it was pre-recorded vocals at JACC, I guarantee you it was pre-recorded in Dubai and elsewhere

        • You’re right about that. Hence maybe why a lot of theater venues in countries where CATS is currently touring are offering tickets for as little as $20.

          What about all the other problems that all these people on here are talking about? I don’t think CATS has anything to do with the parking issues, sound issues, seats, available beverages, bathroom lines…

          The only thing that’s understandable are the bathroom lines during intermission.

          Bathroom lines in theaters are always egregiously long.

    • munge says:

      it it’s a playback- the whole POINT of going is lost. You’re just watching ppl dance aroudn

  14. The Other Ahmed says:

    I would just like to say that JACC should host conventions in the future (shame that Comic Con Kuwait didnt set up there)

  15. dino says:

    Went on a Friday lunch time. It was surprisingly packed and the tickets distribution was fair. I didn’t enjoy the first act but the second act was very enjoyable. Loved how the cast were interacting with the audience and how one of the main characters stayed on stage during the 20 min break so ppl can go on stage and take pics with him. Also loved that they had a mini Cats merchandise booth. It was an enjoyable experience and the complaints about bathroom and snacks is usual stuff that shouldn’t really effect their harsh review.

  16. dfine says:

    I want Russell Peters back… not in a tent this time!!

  17. EmG says:

    Hi, my experience was similarly bad. Not about the amazing show. About parking at 1 km away, walking that long corridors, poor audio, weak organization of food stands, prices of the tickets…
    I think I would not visit this JACC again.
    In general quite disappointed.

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