On the first of January 2020, a brand new theatre show stepped into the spotlight titled ‘Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical’. It’s the kind of production that could only work in the middle of a global pandemic, and while it by no means justifies what all of us have been through during the past year it does give you a reason to start the new year off with a smile. Many people came to the show thinking they would be laughing at it, and ended up laughing with it instead and even singing along too! Just like the plot of the film, it takes an idea that in theory should never work out and turns it into a delightful piece of art.

There are some big names attached to the project, with Lucy Moss directing the project. Moss already has some experience with stage shows, co-creating the hit musical Six in 2017. The cast is also packed with famous faces, with actor Titus Burgess starring in the main role as Remy the rat. Other key members include actors such as André De Shields, Kevin Chamberlain and Wayne Brady and singer-songwriter Adam Lambert, starring as critic Anton Ego, head chef Gusteau and Remy’s dad and brother respectively. However, the show is truly stolen by a pair of successful Broadway actors who haven’t yet made their breakthrough onto film. Andrew Barth Feldman gives an outstanding and heart-warming performance as Linguini, and Ashley Park of Mean Girls: The Musical fame throws herself into her role as Colette.

The songs are also so much better than they have the right to be, with the opening number ‘Anyone Can Cook’ really setting the standard. Almost every song in the show comes from a different writer, but each song blends the tone together so well that it almost feels like they all came from the same mind. The only issue with the songs is that they only cover the main plot points of the 2007 movie, leaving Burgess to string the points together with some narration and short dialogue scenes. As the entire production was put together in just 4 short months this is excusable, but if the show does end up in a more professional setting there is definitely an opportunity for improvement in that aspect.

As the actors filmed all of their parts alone in their own homes, an issue is opened up as to how to make each shot and interaction look organic. Although sandwiching each star’s footage in between other clips on the screen isn’t as messy as you would expect, it is far from satisfactory as far as reactions are concerned. Park does just fine with reacting to other scenes and dialogue, however all the other performances tend to fall short. The show also tries to tie back to its TikTok roots, using various special effects and edits to create the atmosphere of a real stage show. While this sometimes works in the show’s favour, like in the pop style duet ‘A Rat’s Way of Life’, it can struggle to match the tone of surrounding scenes and at times can remove you from the experience. You also wish that some of the digital backgrounds were more interesting to look at, as more often than not its just a grey or white background. However, judging by the show’s short production span and inconvenient circumstances its fair that these would be improved upon if the show was given more time to properly come together.

Overall, the ‘Ratatousical’ as it’s since been named is a fun, light-hearted way of bringing young people together during the pandemic. Not to mention that all the money spent on tickets went directly to the Actor’s Fund, a charity based around meeting the services of people in the arts industry. Thanks to viewer’s donations, the project’s official Twitter account announced that it has earned over $1.9 million, and this number is still growing. All in all, it’s a delightful surprise that starts 2021 off on the right foot.