In the alleyways and moonlit streets of the city, a gang of wily cats and a group of fearless dogs prepare to do battle. It’s time to decide who gets to control the turf at the back of the bakery and who needs to scram once and for all!
Then Jack meets Melody – a cat and a dog become friends. This changes everything! Perhaps cats and dogs really can find a way to live together and get along? Only if they avoid the Animal Catcher and if Fury, the leader of the cats, doesn’t get his way!
Paws & Claws is based very loosely on William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, but with dogs and cats instead of Montagues and Capulets, always fighting, usually without good reason, just because that’s the way things have always been.
Beyond that, however, the story is wholly original, a tale of friendship, of loyalty, of trust and mistrust, of joy and sadness, isolation and togetherness. It is a play in which every part matters, in which every character has an identity, a personality, an individuality. It is also a play in which every performer has the opportunity to enjoy a meaningful role as well as being part of the ensemble.
With eleven fantastic, contemporary songs and a hilarious, poignant script, join Chorizo and Chipolata the sausage dogs, Salsa the feisty Chiwawa and a gang of loveable mutts and quick-witted cats in a musical adventure that everyone will adore!
The cats and dogs begin with a musical exploration of why they are always fighting like … cats and dogs (CATS & DOGS). They arrive at no answers.
It’s Friday night and the cats’ turn to enjoy the bakery left overs (THE BACK OF THE BAKERY), but Fiesta, Jack and a sprinkling of dogs are intent on spoiling the party. With the cats led on a wild goose chase by Bullet and Marmite, it falls to Jack to gather up the pastries. Here he meets Melody, a Burmese cat. They get talking and a friendship is born.
Meanwhile, the dogs wonder about the existence of cats (WHAT IS THE POINT Of A CAT?), something similar to which the cats are also mulling over (WHAT IS THE POINT Of A DOG?). They decide to meet up to make arrangements for one final battle, a “who stays and who goes” type of battle. The problem for Fiesta – top dog and all-round mischief-maker – is that his right-hand-man is missing.
Indeed, Jack is catching up with Melody, their friendship blossoming as they both begin to realise that they have much in common (MORE LIKE YOU). However, as the ‘final battle’ approaches, Jack and Melody fear their friendship may be at an end as threats rain down (GONNA GET YOU). But the unexpected arrival of the Animal Catcher gets everyone’s tails up and lands a few of them – including Jack – in The Pound.
The female cats are attending to their grooming (PLAY IT COOL) when news arrives that Diesel, Smokey and two dogs have been caught by the Animal Catcher and are now likely to be permanent residents of The Pound. Melody is crestfallen when she realizes that one of the dogs is Jack, and all the more so when the other cats realize that she has become friends with a dog.
In The Pound, the ‘lifers’ make the newcomers feel far from welcome (THE ANIMAL CATCHER). Jack suggests to his friend Sherlock and the two cats with them that they should work together to escape, much to the cats’ ridicule. Jack wonders whether he will ever see Melody again and if she is alright (SOMEWHERE). Sadly, she is far from alright, increasingly isolated, teased and maligned by the majority of the other cats.
Back in The Pound, Jack realizes that their only chance of escape is in being as charming and cute as they can possibly be when the humans come looking for pets. With plenty of raising a paw, cocking a head, rolling around and doing sad eyes (If YOU’RE SMART), they manage to win-round the humans and instigate their escape. And just in time, for Melody is about to be given her marching orders by top-cat, Fury.
Jack returns and, with the help of feline escapees Diesel and Smokey, convinces the dogs and cats that their feud must end, that friendship is better than foe, and that Melody and he will be friends regardless of what anyone else thinks. As more and more of the cats and dogs come round to his way of thinking (WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER WAR), it is only Fury who is left alone with his bitterness, desperately seeking support for his personal vendetta against all dogs everywhere.