Entertainment Hive 2020

Ashleigh’s cat is out of the jar

By Honey B

Adelaide girl Ashleigh Hauschild laughs when asked if she is anything like her character, Tantomile, in Cats the Musical. “Are you calling me feral?’’ she says smirking. “I don’t think my character is much like me at all!’’ Hauschild plays one of the twin telepathic cats in the popular stage show and she freely admits her character can be a bit “annoying’’. “When I first started rehearsals I was told that the twin cats are very feral and we also sense when something is about to happen and we will come to the front of the stage. “We were given three secret words to describe our characters when we started rehearsals and mine were suspicious, sensitive, telepathic and then I also had feral. “My character Tantomile’s twin brother is Coricopat, who is played by Patrick Whitbread, and we are the two most feral cats in the pack. “We are both a bit kooky and mischievous on- stage and we are onto it whenever anything is about to happen. “It’s good to have a partner in crime.’’ Hauschild says to get into fine feline form she read a lot about cats, watched a lot of cat videos and copied her own cats’ behaviours. “The show’s director sent us through a lot of information to read about cats and it really helped a lot from finding out about their sense of smell to just everything really. “There are big sections in the show where we just get to improvise and act like a cat so all of the research and rehearsals are immensely handy. “Then I have two cats at home and I watch them every chance I get and then add their little quirks into my performances. “I have a black and white cat and his full name is actually Mister Mistoffellees and for short we call him Johns and then there’s Princess Ollie Puss Meow Meow and we callher Ollie – so silly names.’’ To an audience, the costumes look completely fabulous in their lyric and fur unitard glory, but Hauschild says they are not fantastic to dance around in. “The costumes aren’t as glamorous as you would think. “You have to glue the wig to your face and I have scabs on my head where the clips keep digging in. “The lycra suits are very hot and it’s a physically demanding show – we actually have props hidden around the set to wipe our sweat up and that’s to make sure we don’t slip on-stage. “Patrick, my twin, is always wiping his sweat on me – he thinks it’s very funny. “I think I have just told you too much information!’’ Hauschild, who spent much of her youth on the Adelaide amateur stage and attended Charles Campbell College and APO Arts Academy, says she found a little wish jar recently. “When I was about 12 or 13 my best friend gave me this little jar and you had to write down your hopes and dreams to put in it. “Mum showed me the jar the other day and I had written down to be in Cats.’’ Cats the Musical, Adelaide Festival Centre, Festival Theatre, until April 10. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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