Preview: That Pesky Rat, Soho Theatre, London

This rodent is naughty but nice
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The Independent Culture

With the help of puppeteers Talk to the Hand, and the jazzy music of Kenny Mellman, Lauren Child's award-winning children's book, That Pesky Rat, will be brought to life at the Soho Theatre. Adapted and directed for three- to eight-year-olds by Jonathan Lloyd, the show begins with Pesky Rat alone in his dustbin wishing to be loved and wanted by an owner. He longs to leave Grubby Alley and have a posh home like his friends Pierre the chinchilla and Nibbles the rabbit.

While the story is essentially designed for children (it's the theatre's second show for kids, following the success of Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?), adults can also appreciate the artistry of adapting fantasy for the stage through puppetry and music.

The comical tale of Pesky Rat is interpreted through the music of Mellman, who has performed all over the world. Most notably, he is one half of the Off-Broadway theatre award or OBIE-winning cabaret duo, Kiki and Herb. This is the first children's musical for the composer and performer.

"As a kid I went to a drama workshop camp for six years where we put together musicals of our own," says Mellman. "So it's always been in my blood to do children's musicals, I just never thought I'd actually do them as an adult. It's funny; part of me always thinks you have to dumb down for children and take the sophistication out of it - I don't think we give children enough credit."

American-born Mellman has performed in cities all over the world but finds something special here. "The audiences in London are there with you in a certain way, something I don't experience as much in other cities," he says. "I really love performing in front of London audiences because they're just up for a good time and they're smart, pay attention, and take everything in. I haven't been here in six months and it feels like being home again."

3 December to 7 January (08704 296 883;