Last night I went to see “I was a Rat” at the Nottingham Playhouse. This play is based on a children’s book written by Philip Pullman. Before going to the show I have to admit I didn’t know the book, or the story, although I have seen Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” in London many years ago. “His Dark Materials” is a trilogy of books and the stage adaptation was set in two parts each around three hours long. We did the afternoon matinee followed by the evening performance. It was epic but amazing with fantastic acting and stage magic. Anyway, this had given me an idea of what to expect from Pullman’s imagination!
The story is of a boy who arrives at a couple’s house late a night saying that he is a rat. The kindly pair take him in, a little confused as to his delusions, but with no children of their own feeling the need to nurture the strange child. The story unfolds as they go through the motions to find out who he is and how he can be theirs. The actor playing the title character, Fox Jackson-Keen had played the lead in the Billy Elliott stage show and his acting and dancing skills are incredible, as are the rest of the seven strong cast who all play multiple roles in the story. There is amazing energy and humour throughout the theatrical and musical performance which you can’t help get hooked on. The lighting and simple stage design is also very effective creating a dark, mysterious story for all ages. The story is quite a fairy take, it reminded me of Pinocchio in places, as it touches on a child’s development, fears and fantasy world!
The play is aimed at children aged 7+ and although I think my 6 year old would have enjoyed the performance I don’t think he would have been able to follow the story. I also don’t think his little brother would have let him leave to go out with me on his own as we have been away for a few days enjoying some time out. I am, however, going to buy the book as I think the story would capture his imagination and hopefully we will catch the production again when he is older.
It was also lovely to meet John, who writes for the Creative Nottingham blog, for the first time in person and meet and catch up with the other gorgeous Nottingham bloggers. Big thanks for Penny at Aresidence and Laura at the Playhouse for arranging. This show is on at the Nottingham Playhouse until Sunday 13 April and then on a national tour. Great Easter fun!
Photography credit goes to Robert Day.
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets for the event.