Robert J Sherman
Reality Rating: 3/5
Fidget Factor: 0.5
An almighty orchestra fills the stage, as filthy, flee ridden rats flood in. Welcome to London, in the time of the plague. ‘You’re gunna love it ‘ere’ as City Rats, Water Rats, Thieving Rats and Plague Rats take us back to 1665.
Green, mouldy trench coats and scabby tails; these scuttling rats are definitely reminiscent of the ones we’ve seen peaking out of the sewers of London. As part of the commemorations for the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London, Bumblescratch offers us a different perspective on the fire that raged for four days long.
After just two weeks of rehearsals, this cast have put together a full length production. Not polish perfect, Darren Day is playfully live on stage and happy to comically comment on any moments which don’t go quite as planned. Melbourne Bumblescratch and Perry – the sweet duo between Darren Day and Ilan Galkoff is fun to watch.
The idea of Sweeney Todd style rats telling the tale of London works well, however the storyline and music never ignite. Although the plague and the Great Fire are occasionally mentioned, the majority of the time we’re presented with pirate ghosts and a small theft of jewellery. It’s all a little bit bumble-scrumble. There is a mix of fart jokes for youngsters and some more carefully worded adult humour to be enjoyed, yet pitched as a comedy – this musical isn’t heavily stocked with hilarity.
There were a few of Robert J Sherman’s musical numbers that sparked interest, ‘At Least A Rat ‘As Got An Excuse’, ‘My Place In The Sun’ and the beautiful ‘Music of the Sphere’.
Sketch illustrations, projected above the orchestra, act as this musical’s set; giving the audience a taster of the rat’s surroundings – burning houses, baker’s bedrooms and rat angels (bats). A little stage fizz here and there adds a touch of sparkle to the evening.
Katie Kerr was hugely animated in her role as Rolanda and as part of the ensemble; performing vivid characters in a sterling voice – we would have loved to have seen her in the role of Bethesda, Melbourne Bumblescratch’s wife. Teddy Moynihan also stood out, his dancing feet were noted from the begining, only to suprise us with an elegant voice in his musical number, ‘We Will Live To Be Free’.
Lovers of musical’s will hopefully delight in the music, whilst those accustomed to straight plays may find the ‘sung-through’ style a little jarring.
This production of Bumblescratch was produced for a fantastic cause, in aid of raising funds for Variety; a children’s charity which helps to improve the lives of young people, giving them the opportunity to reach their potential, regardless of their circumstances. If you missed the chance to donate during the show or fancy supporting Variety, simply click the Logo. Your help WILL improve a young life! ♥
Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes
Running: One Off Gala Performance
♥ Thanks to the wonderful Theatre Bloggers for the invite
♥ Thank you Greg for our London’s Burning Rat