Philip Pullman fans are in for a treat this week as the Playhouse houses one of his children's stories - I Was a Rat. Performed for the first time in this country, the eight strong cast bring to life Pullman's dark and often grotesque characters.
 
The story is centred around a boy who, one night, knocks on the door of Bob and Joan. Not really knowing where he has come from they take him under their wing, give him a name, Roger, and do the best they can for him. But Roger disappears and ends up in all sorts of trouble. Was he really a rat, or just a scruffy little boy with bad table manners?
 
There is a plethora of characters in this show, and all apart from Roger, double up. As Roger, Fox Jackson- Keen is perfect as the rat-boy. His talent of being able to tumble around the stage, and to keep the character of playing a child believable led to a delightful performance.
 
What is so engaging about this show is the lack of set used. Instead, director and adaptor Teresa Ludovico has gone for lighting and physicality with her actors. Stripping back everything in the theatre and concentrating on the story allows for a sharp and an incredible visual show, which is perfect for children and adults alike.
 
With Pullman's unique imagination and Ludovico's intelligent directorship, I Was A Rat is a visual delight. A must see for all the family.
 
- Janie Phillips