The Stranger spoke with Amy Bell, Cat Enthusiast and Body Language Expert at Fancy Cat magazine about the Acro-Cats stand at Stone Soup Theater.
When/how/where did you first hear of the show?
I saw a picture of Boyd Rice at a RockCats show on tumblr and became mildly obsessed. A few months later, I heard that they were passing through Portland, and my enthusiasm skyrocketed when I learned that they were going to be in Seattle shortly after.
Please set the scene for your visit to the show. Time, date, place, companions, other audience members.
Oh! This is a real tale of heartbreak. I wanted to take the object of my affection for his birthday, so we picked a date that worked and I bought tickets way in advance for a Sunday night show on opening weekend. We showed up to the venue—the Stone Soup Theater in Wallingford—stupid early, since I was worried about not getting a seat (?). Nobody was outside and we waited for a really long time until a woman wearing cat ears came out of the theater and told us the performance had been canceled since nobody had bought tickets! DEVASTATING. Anyway, we picked a different day to go a week later, but for an earlier show. The crowd was a mix of people, pretty much what you might expect at a cat circus, i.e. people wearing ironic tshirts and glasses. And one loud toddler.
What happened upon entering the venue?
The theater is really small, so we pretty much just grabbed the best seats close to the stage. It ended up being really packed!
The stage was set with lots of props covered in purple carpet and there was a male Acrocat carny putting cats into little carriers located in the wings.
What happened next—the show, or something unexpected? OR BOTH?...
The male Acrocat carny came out with a giant tray of furry cat ears and told everybody that the show wasn't going to start until he sold all of the cat ears, which was really only a half-joke. Then some people bought some ears. THEN the show started.
What did the show consist of?
Some light humor and a lot of cat tricks and a rollicking performance by a cat band. And some trained rats and a chicken. The cats do things like turn on lightbulbs, balance on balls, push shopping carts, walk a balance beam and do flying feats, etc. The whole thing is ridiculously charming. The star of the show is a cat named Tuna that seems like a grump.
Also, the woman that runs the circus brings foster cats with her on the road that you can adopt and they are so cute that they made me cry.
Tuna seemed like a grump? Please explain the cats' body language, etc.
She is a very pretty white cat with kind of sensual eyes. Maybe not so much a grump as a primadonna, because she could barely be bothered to come out of her cage to start the show. She is the Naomi Campbell of cat circus performers. SENSUAL EYES
What were the other cats all about?
Well, the main Acrocat lady/ringmaster does a whole spiel about all of the cats in the show, but I've pretty much forgotten everything about them except for that maybe one was the dumb one? Oh, and the guitar player, Pinky, has leg cancer. Poor kitty!
I do know that all of the cats are rescue cats that live with the ringmaster in Chicago. She must have about 20 cats, all told.
What advice would you give to those who haven't seen the show yet?
Don't buy tickets for the Sunday night show at 9pm. Bring cash so that you can buy the merchandise. Be prepared for your black heart to be WARMED.
Anything we've missed?
Oh! There was a groundhog too, but I can't remember what trick she did. It's all a blur.
The ringmistress is single...gentlemen.
Bell adds: "Seattle's animal shelters are overrun with wonderful cats for adoption if they want to start their own circus at home."