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A rodent to remember. Fox Jackson-Keen on playing Roger in I Was A Rat!

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  Halfway through the national tour of I Was A Rat!, I caught up with Fox Jackson-Keen who plays Roger.

How did you initially approached the role and the play?
The whole process for I Was A Rat has been different than anything else I have been involved in. Working with Teresa Ludovico, who conceived and directed the piece and the whole creative team has been fantastic. We started with a week-long workshop with cast, musicians and creatives side-by-side trying things, expressing individually and collectively what we thought about the piece and our characters. That same thinking moved to rehearsal and then into the performance the whole process was about the journey of our characters... it’s been amazing

How have you found that the way you approached/played the role has varied (or not) during the tour?
I think that I have moved from knowing my character Roger to understanding Roger and the whole context of the play. That has informed my part. I knew how to play him but now I understand who he is and I feel his emotions in the situations he is in – and if you know the play, sometimes that is painful. But I think has made my performances stronger as we have moved through the tour.

How has your experience of playing the part of Billy Elliot fed into this role?
I’m not sure that it has, but what I have realised is that in any part one plays there has to be a little of one’s own personal story, or to find something personal in the part. But the experience of being in Billy, working with older, more experienced performers, the constant development, the performing, the rehearsals, the tech runs, the audience, the interviews all that has helped me with Roger and I Was A Rat!

How have audiences at the different venues reacted to the play?
The tour has been incredible, playing in different historic venues all over the country, all with a different feel. It has made me appreciate how special this tour is. As for different reactions, I Was A Rat! is such a remarkable play that everyone, young and old has been reacting very strongly. They all laugh at the funny parts, and there are a lot of gasps when I am beaten and clap along to my dance.... which I love.

What have you got lined up next?
Next! I haven’t had the time to think about next!! I have been totally focused on I Was A Rat! and we still have six weeks to go, but I will make a note to my agent and ask. Thanks for the reminder.

Fox’s theatre credits include playing Billy Elliot in Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace Theatre). Television credits include Sadie J 3 (BBC), Doctors (BBC) and My Phone Genie (CITV). Fox is thrilled to be playing this part, having enjoyed the book, and hopes that you will come to see it and enjoy it as much as he does.


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