Moggies is based on Tugboat Cath’s Tales of the Mersey Moggies, broadcast monthly on BBC Radio Merseyside. Tugoat Cath is local storeteller Cathy Roberts (the tugboat is her Historic Tug France Hayhurst.)
The tales are broadcast live on Maureen Walsh’s Sunday morning show and ahve attracted a wide and diverse listening audience over the past four and a half years. The stories depict life as seen through the eyes of local animals, with four ageing tomcats as central characters, Dutch, Lefty, Moose and Mo. They meet and eat at Ling’s Feline Fine Diner – a cat cafe in the fish shop yard on Lark Lane, and their exploits are invariably recorded in the Liverpool Weekly Squeak – a mewspaper currently edited by an Irish Newshoud and Scots Terrier. They have their equivalent of virtually every aspet of life from Furbert’s the Furdresser and Cooings and Co postal service. Moggie Mae West – nightclub singer at the Catlantic Hotel; Motley Flees Mogg – the theatreical cat; Tom Chester – Comedy Cheshire Cat; Grog – the wannabee pirate cat; The Kitchenettes – a trio of kitten backing singers who spring into song whenever a fridge light shines; Fluffimus T Furball – Fat Cat Financier. The oppurrtunities for characters are endless.
The tales appeal to all ages – Maureen’s show attracts a high percentage of pension age listeners who are probably initiailly responsible for the tales becoming familiar to families as grandparents relate tales to grandchildren. However, once the book was published eighteen months ago, it became clear that a very diverse range of ages and social backgrounds are fans of the Moggies. The tales have tapped into the fact that people are very keen to talk about their local area, and their pets.
As many of the characters either sing or are a mewsic fans, it seemed a nutral progression to take the tales one step further into Moggies the Mewsical, with collaboration between Cathy and songwriter/director Brian McCann and writer/performance poet Peter Grant. The show went into rehearsals with a professional local cast, including a cameo appearance from local legend Ken Dodd and premiered at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre in April 2016 to sell-out audiences over three nights. With widely encouraging feedback from audiences and critics, work has now begun to develop the show for a larger venue.