I Was a Rat!

In Barbara Field’s charming adaptation of I Was a Rat by Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass), a young boy claiming to have been a rat (Don Darryl Rivera) shows up at the home of a poor couple, Bob (Rob Burgess) and Joan (Marianne Owen). He has no home, no name, and a dismaying habit of eating the furniture. The couple is both kind and childless, and they make an unspoken vow to take care of the child, whom they call Roger. Of course, life isn’t easy for a boy who thinks he’s a rat. Typical of Pullman, the story is filled with adventure and allegory. For the benefit of the children, Field and director Rita Giomi have focused on the former; the production is fast-paced and colorful. Scenic designer Jennifer Zeyl deserves much of the credit, having created a wonderfully imaginative set, perfect for a children’s book brought to life. If you’re feeling intellectual, though, there’s plenty of social commentary that goes much deeper than the standard moralizing of fairy tales. The cast is a pleasure to watch, particularly Rivera, who seems to take much enjoyment in anthropomorphizing a rodent. BRENT ARONOWITZ

Thu., April 30, 7 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays; Thu., May 14, 7 p.m.; Fri., May 15, 7 p.m.; Fri., May 29, 7 p.m.; Fri., June 5, 7 p.m. Starts: April 30. Continues through June 7, 2009

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