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April 2004
I Was a Rat! - Review
I Was A Rat!
I Was A Rat!


"I Was a Rat"
The Oxford Youth Theatre
Pegasus Theatre
7.30pm 25th –29th May
£5.50, £3.50 concs.,
Box office 01865 722851

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It's a gamble isn't it? Your new French house mate gets home from work, she's tired and hasn't eaten yet. The poor girl is still getting to grips with driving on the right and ordering a cup of tea in English.

"Fancy going to see some Youth Theatre?" I say. You have to admire her sense of adventure - she agrees! "What's it called?" she asks in the car on the way. "I Was A Rat!" I smirk.

In fairness there couldn't have been a better showcase of local enterprise. The acclaimed Oxford author Phillip Pullman penned it, a young writer from the Pegasus Theatre's playwriting group, Ben Coren adapted it for stage and the Junior Oxford Youth Theatre performed it.

Right from the opening dance number I knew my French friend would enjoy it. The fairytale story of a rat who becomes a boy has some rather conspicuous messages about the dangers of a scandalising press and racial prejudice but it's very well done with visuals, dance and a mechanical rat.

The entire young cast put in exceptional performances but Kayleigh Chambers in her roll as Mama-ratsi was brilliant and little Rory Gilchrist made me laugh a lot - he made himself laugh a lot too!

It was great to see Mr Pullman himself in the audience and providing his support to this enthusiastic and exciting new talent, perhaps you should consider doing the same, my Gallic companion and I certainly had a wail of a time.

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