IT was like being flanked by Sock and Buskin.

My two friends could not have had more disparate responses to the display in front of us. Stephen sat with a full set of teeth on display, his smile was stretched broad.

On the other side, Jonathan's mouth was in an appalled downward twist, his head occasionally in his hands.

Finally, I have seen Cats, and friends... I loved it.

In general, I believe musicals to be artistic atrocities. Singing, I like. Acting, I like. Singing and acting combined? No, thank you anyway.

So I had no impetus to go and see Cats the film. I have, full disclosure, seen Cats on the stage and it was tolerable because the characters sang and danced and barely talked so it wasn't a musical of the traditional, "I'm inappropriately bursting in to song instead of finishing this sentence," variety.

The only thing that drew me to Cats the movie was the promise of two hours of atrocious film making.

I'm a member of a Bad Movie Club and we thrive on this stuff. The Room. Sharktopus. Its follow up Sharktopus vs Whalewolf. Would Cats be more gloriously awful than Birdemic, the best worst movie ever?

"Nearly as obscene as The Human Centipede," ran the Guardian. "A monstrosity." "A descent into madness". One magazine claimed its reviewers had lost all nine of their lives, another tirade said the film was "straight out of the litter box".

The most tantalising headline simply ran, Cats: Spay It.

I was there for it. A motion picture horror piece with the added trauma of James Corden. What could be gloriously worse?

Well, much, it turned out. Off we went, actors in fur CGI creeping and crawling through the streets of London, their digitally enhanced ears twitching as they moved through the Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats.

Nothing grating so far.

This, in fact, was a delight. Even the dancing cockroaches had a certain charm. Yes, at points seeing Judi Dench with a lionesque ring of long fur framing her face felt a little fever-dreamish but she pulled it off with a certain twinkling gravitas.

What are the complaints? Viewers twisted their knickers over scale - in some parts the cats are as big as cutlery; in other parts they fill window frames.

Two women in my screening couldn't move past the fact that Jennyanydots unzips her own skin to reveal a new outfit underneath. Others have been upset that Old Deuteronomy wears a fur coat... on top of her own coat of fur.

Yet more whiny babies emphasised distress that the cats had fingers. Yes, it certainly would lift the whole film to make the singing, dancing, talking cats more realistic.

Bizarrely, no one seemed bothered by Bombalurina's high heels or Taylor Swift's horrific faux-British accent. These were the only downsides.

Lack of a plot has been another incoherent grumble? Too much plot would be a more sensible complaint. Cats is a back-to-back collection of little stand alone stories. It heaves with plots, drips with them.

The individual stories of the cats are marvellous. The Rum Tum Tugger is everycat, recognisable to anyone who's ever lived in service to a cat: "When you let me in I want to go out."

Skimbleshanks is missing and the night train can't go without him. Oh here he is! And what a brilliant picture is painted of the sleeper service in that three and a half minutes.

Mungojerry and Rumpleteaser's song is all charm and humour, a colourful vignette.

But looking at it for story is nitpicky nonsense in any case; it's a two hour platform for song and dance.

And look at the lyrics. But looking at it for story is nitpicky nonsense in any case; it’s a two hour platform for song and dance.

And look at the lyrics. “Practical cats, dramatical cats, pragmatical cats, fanatical cats, oratorical cats, delphic-oracle cats, skeptical cats, dyspeptical cats."

How about: "In the light of the door which opens on her like a grin, you can see the corner of her eye twists like a crooked pin". South Pacific might be all plot but "Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk"? Give me the Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats in my saucer any day.

Playing a TS Eliot cat debased Ian McKellen, did it? The man famous for playing... a wizard who returns from the dead?

Critics have been anticipating a turkey since the trailer came out and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I blame Brexit. In a country bitterly riven by political dispute, we needed to unite behind a common enemy. This was Cats.

Watch it again. It is glorious. Give yourself to the lurid, dreamlike aesthetic and experience a love story to the myths of theatre and the magic of poetry.