Ratburger is a brand new adaptation of David Walliam’s children’s book of the same name. Adapted by David Kerby-Kendall, the wandering players that are Heartbreak Productions are touring this stage version to a venue near you this summer.
Zoe isn’t having much fun, what with her real mum dying and having horrid stepmother Sheila to put up with. She is bullied at school and her beloved pet hamster Gingernut has died as well! Zoe takes comfort in the friendship of a young rat whom she names Armitage after the makers of the toilets she hides in.
Zoe always feels better when she sees her friend Raj who specialises in selling second hand sweets (as in partially eaten) and she gradually has the idea of teaching Armitage to dance, at which he displays a certain talent.
Armitage does disco
The evil Burt of Burt’s Burgers shows up on the scene with the intention of turning Armitage into a dodgy burger and a series of cat and rat chases ensue.
Big bad Burt
Of course there is a happy ending with Armitage lending his name to Zoe’s Dad’s ice cream shop where he sells the most delicious flavours imaginable. A choice of 32 flavours with 12 sauces to be exact.
I’ll have those please
The audience are asked for their own ideas for new ice cream flavours. Gin and Tonic and Unicorn flavour were on the table this weekend. Unicorn – hmmm – I expect it’s a bit like those hedgehog flavoured crisps we used to get.
The show is peppered with singing and dancing which I always enjoy, and the cast are helped out by a local drama and dance group, in Newcastle this was the children from Famous 4.15.
Lending a hand with the performance
‘In the fridge with Armitage!
We’re the place where taste is based.’
Janette Mc Manus is excellent as Zoe with that right balance of energy and empathy. She never let the pace flag and got everyone rooting for her and her remarkable rodent.
Zoe and her beloved pet
Georgina Scott who played the rat of the title role and the love struck teacher Miss Midge was also very good. She must have awfully hot in that rat fur onesie though, even with our cool and changeable summer weather.
The show is probably most suited to a very young audience, although having said that, there was one parent next to me who had polished off a couple of bottles of wine and was having an absolute whale of a time!
The audience were relaxed
The children at the show all seemed enthralled and were largely well behaved, always the sign of a good production. I’m not sure Ratburger qualifies as a childrens’ classic, but it’s fast colurful and fun. And it does have some things to say about pets, parents and the dangers of fast food. Check out where you can catch Ratburger next at Heartbreak Productions