Figured out what's been bothering me about CATS. The performers do the choreography but I get no sense that they understand it or are committed to it. They have no idea why they're raising their hand at one moment, or dancing in another. That's why it feels so weak and pales next to the 1989 production, which in my memory had it.
On another note, I've found a fantastic local theatre blog, Praxis Theatre. Especially check out their 10 Questions series, where they interview independent artists.