From the Dominion Post
Cats, the hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, could be set for a new
feline character after the discovery of a long-lost poem by TS Eliot.
of the musical, currently playing at the London Palladium, will be
familiar with the tales of feline favourites such as Macavity, the
mystery cat. But now Cumberleylaude, a gourmet cat with a predilection
for salmon, duck and the finest French wines, could be added to the
plot, Lord Lloyd-Webber has suggested.
The development comes after the discovery of a new poem by Eliot, who wrote Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats on which the musical is based, written six months before his death in 1965.
the real-life cat that inspired the character, belonged to Anthony
Laude, a 20-year-old from Cambridge who invited Eliot round for dinner
after corresponding with the writer.
After dining at Laude's home,
Eliot, then 75, wrote to thank his host, adding that he "also enjoyed
meeting Cumberley, a particularly fastidious eater without doubt, but a
dignified and beautiful cat. His character struck me so forcefully that I
felt I had to write a few words in honour of him."
Attached to the letter was an 18-line poem telling the story of
Cumberleylaude, a "gourmet cat" which roamed the houses on his street
looking for the best food. While the creature was desperate for "salmon,
or duck, or expensive French wines", Eliot notes he "did very little to
earn his dinner and board".
The poet concluded the neighbours'
patience would wear thin, and Cumberleylaude would be forced to revert
to chasing mice for its dinner. He wrote: "Then monocle and cane he will
have to discard / And realise that hunting isn't so hard."
died, aged 60, in 2003, and his copy of the poem was auctioned for
charity. However, a carbon copy has been retained by Eliot's estate.
Webber aims to bring a production of Cats back to Broadway, and sources
close to the impresario said that he had not yet decided whether to
change its line-up. Asked whether it could include Cumberleylaude, he
said: "We hope that Cats will return to Broadway next year, so who