Philip Pullman’s gloriously dark and gripping story is brought to life on the professional stage for the first time in the UK. Full of music, comedy and fantastic physical performances I Was A Rat! will surprise, delight and move audiences of all ages.
I Was A Rat! introduces us to Roger, a scruffy page boy who turns up one evening on the doorstep of old married couple, Bob and Joan. “I was a rat!” he insists! But what is he now? A terrifying monster rampaging in the sewers? A money-spinning fairground freak? A champion wriggler and a downy card? Or just an ordinary boy, though a little ratty in his habits?
This fantastical story has been adapted for the stage by director Teresa Ludovico who is artistic director of Teatro Kismet in Bari, Southern Italy. Teresa is best known in the UK for her thrilling visual and physical productions of Beauty and the Beast, The Snow Queen and The Mermaid Princess.
When asked what drew her to adapting and directing I Was A Rat!, Teresa Ludovico said, “I have wanted to bring one of Philip Pullman’s stories to the stage for some time, because I find his work very close to my poetic style of theatre. It is a theatre style that strives to address both young and adult audiences.
“I really like this story because despite its fairy-tale structure and wonderful comic appeal, it also deals with contemporary issues, such as the power of society’s institutions, including the press, which creates bogus news, purely for economic or political reasons.”
Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s previous adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, in 2009 was a huge success with adults and children alike. Combining humour, fantasy and adventure, the moving and darkly comic tale of I Was A Rat! slowly reveals its connection to one of the most famous fairy tales of all time.
Leading the ensemble cast as Roger is young actor Fox Jackson-Keen. Fox made his debut on the professional stage in 2008 at the tender age of 13 in the lead role of Billy in Billy Elliot the Musical. He was the first Londoner to play the role, appearing in a total 201 performances in the award-winning musical.
I Was A Rat! is a Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company production in association with Nottingham Playhouse, The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Teatro Kismet, Bari, Italy – a unique co-production which for the first time brings together the imaginative visual flair of Teatro Kismet’s creative team, with the acting skills of a versatile British cast.
I Was A Rat! Will be at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich from Tuesday 12th Saturday 16th March. To book tickets contact the Box office on 01473 295900.