If you’re a TikTok or musical theatre fan, you’re likely to be aware of the phenomena that is a musical version of Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille. Hundreds of TikTok videos ranging from songs to set-design and choreography from enthusiasts across the globe became an hour-long spectacle that has currently raised over $1m for The Actors Fund, a US actors charity. In a time when the art and theatre scene has been brought to a standstill by the pandemic, there is still an opportunity for it to prevail and reach audiences in new and creative means.
Debuting on New Years Day, the musical starred the likes of Queen singer Adam Lambert and a host of Broadway stars including Tituss Burgess and Andrew Barth Feldman. The TikTok trend stemmed from a video posted by New York teacher Emily Jacobson in August 2020 . It grew exponentially from there, with hundreds of other users posting song arrangements, ideas for sets, costumes, and even dance numbers.
Inspired by the 2007 Disney Pixar film about Remy, a rat who doesn’t want to live on scraps any longer and instead wants to be a chef. Inspired by chef Gusteau whose motto is ‘anyone can cook’, he is determined to excel in the cooking scene in Paris. With a little help from Linguini, a hopeless chef, and a chef’s hat, he might just get his wish.
The complete show, comprising of 10 musical numbers, is directed by Lucy Moss, a co-creator of hit musical Six. Made from crowd-sourcing material and by consulting TikTok users, the musical had approval from Disney to go ahead, and was available for a further 72 hours after its debut on TodayTix. There are even some bootleg copies popping up on Youtube, and many are hoping that one day this Ratatousical will be coming to a stage near you.
With clever cloning editing, and some questionable ad-hoc homemade costumes, the story of Remy the rat is brought to life. Stand-out performances come from Adam Lambert’s ‘Rat’s Way of Life’ and a spectacular tango-inspired duet of Colette and Linguini, coined by 17-year-old TikTok user Blake Rouse. Whilst it does not yet have the finesse of a full-scale production, the narration from Tituss Burgess, who plays Remy in a turtleneck, takes us from one song to another and fills in any major plot points we might have missed.
Whilst a crowdsourced musical may not be quite possible for a transition to Broadway due to ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’, so to speak, here they’ve cooked up something delicious to enjoy. I can’t wait to see what other things TikTok users will conjure up next!
Image courtesy of Olivier Bergeron.