Third Form gave us their wonderful rendition of Rats!, making their debut on the Hinsley Hall stage. A funky interpretation of a tradionational tale, Rats! retells the classic story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin with music and dancing.
It was the invention of the children beyond the score composed by Nigel Hess that gave this show its star quality. Faced with a musical made up entirely of singing, the Third Form workshopped their own imaginative dialogue in lessons, adding more colour to the show. Most notable was the decision of one class to infuse their rat characters with a ninja twist; all dressed in black karate suits with suitable accompanying kung fu actions, this proved to be a hit with the audience.
From the mysterious piper himself, to the melancholic young boy, crippled and separated from his friends, the play was packed full of a wide range of vibrant characters; each demanded a high level of imagination and commitment to the role from the Third Formers. The snooty council members proved an amusing counterpart to the innocent children, tragically led away from their families. The anger of the Hamelin citizens also really came off the stage as they protested against the invasion of the unwanted rats, whose mischievous nature gave way to a smattering of comedic moments.
The show had a moving ending and a poignant message. With the children disappeared to a place unknown at the hands of the Piper, the action turned to the effect on those left behind. Having enraged the Piper with their unfulfilled promise, the council seemed reformed; realising the error of their ways, they sang along with the parents exhorting the Piper to return the town’s children to them. Particularly heartfelt was the crippled boy- now an old man- singing wistfully about his childhood, having lost all his friends to mountains and the mysterious Piper. Rats! was full of touching moments, owing to the maturity and emotional commitment of the Third Form.