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Bumblescratch is a sung-through musical-comedy set in London during the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666. It's told from the perspective of a demented, lascivious plague rat named Melbourne Bumblescratch, who demonstrates his unique and twisted love affair with the ancient city through telling his marvellously gruesome tales.

Bumblescratch had a workshop performance at London's Network Theatre in 2013 and is due to receive a full-scale charity gala concert premiere at the West End's Adelphi Theatre on Sunday 4 September 2016. For more information on tickets, please visit



Bumblescratch opens with "Melbourne" befriending a guileless young rodent named "Perry", and in so doing, revisiting his own lost innocence. Through this friendship, Melbourne is inspired to become a better version of himself, foregoing some of his more negative personality traits.

But to accomplish this, Melbourne must first elicit the help of a less-than-saintly guardian angel, the ghost of a rat pirate named "Hookbeard". Together, they escape the lengthy claws of the vicious King Rat, "Socrates", and Melbourne eventually even does right by his long suffering fiancé, “Bethesda”.

Melbourne must utilise every trick he knows (including some impressive sleight-of-hand) to get himself out of the desperate scenario in which the malevolent Socrates has put him: having to steal King Charles II’s Crown Jewel. In the end, Melbourne finds a middle path between righteous living and the distorted course of his prior existence. However, as fate would have it, the plague rat may have to burn down London in the bargain... It's this final act that assures Melbourne's place in the dark tapestry of city legend.



Bumblescratch had a workshop performance at London's Network Theatre in 9 and 10 May 2013 and is due to receive a one night only Charity Gala Concert at The Adelphi Theatre on the 4th September 2016. To find out more visit 




The cast for the 2013 Bumblescratch workshop were:

  • MELBOURNE – Paul Baker
  • FATS – David Alder
  • BETHESDA – Rosemary Ashe
  • SOCRATES – John Barr
  • CHARMER – Gary Jerry
  • HOOKBEARD – Jeremy Secomb
  • THOMAS FARYNOR – Darren Street
  • HORTENSE – Ziggie Sky Ward
  • MORDEKAI – James Yeoburn
  • RUFUS – Harry Stone
  • PERRY – Sebastian Croft, Daniel Dowling
  • THAMESA – Frances Encell
  • ENSEMBLE – Lydia Grant
  • ENSEMBLE – Bianca Harris
  • ENSEMBLE – Stephen Matthews
  • ENSEMBLE – Sarah Moyle
  • ENSEMBLE – Sophie Poulton


The creative team for the 2013 Bumblestratch workshop were:

  • BOOK, MUSIC & LYRICS - Robert J. Sherman
  • DIRECTOR - Graham Gill
  • GENERAL MANAGERS - Joanne Benjamin, Clive Chenery
  • STAGE MANAGER - Fiona Bailey
  • PRODUCTION ASSISTANT - Stephanie Marks
  • TECHNICAL MANAGER - James Henshaw
  • CASTING - Anne Vosser
  • CHILDREN'S CASTING - Mark Deitch and The Sylvia Young Theatre School
  • WARDROBE - Debbie Bennett
  • PRESS - David Bloom at Target Live
  • CHAPERONES - Rus Russell, Doulla Croft
  • FILM CREW DIRECTOR - Ramsey Jeffers



Bumblescratch is a sung-through musical.

  • Overture
  • London in the Plague
  • Ev'rybody Hide
  • Ring-A-Ring a Rosy
  • Thank You, Sir
  • Melbourne Bumblescratch
  • At Least a Rat 'As Got an Excuse
  • Socrates' Scorn
  • Close Scrape Today
  • Hookbeard's Theme
  • Don't Eat Bad Cheese
  • Hookbeard's Rebuke
  • Can't You Hear The Music?
  • Storyteller
  • Widow MacGregor
  • Jiggery Pokery
  • What Is This That I See?
  • Adorable Me!
  • Unhand Me!
  • Really Rather Strange
  • I Want to Believe in Love
  • I'm Faithful (To All My Lovers)
  • Music of the Spheres
  • Always a Test
  • And One Day... / We've Got to Get Out of This Place!
  • Dual Epiphany
  • My Place in the Sun

  • All Fallen Angels
  • News Of Thamesa's Imminent Demise
  • 30 Beautiful Now
  • I Cannot Hear You
  • Hookbeard's Theme
  • The Present Tense / Ain't That Just The Whiff
  • Bumblescratch Nightmare
  • Long Long Road
  • We Will Live To Be Free
  • Socrates' Grand Ploy
  • Dance, Dance, Dance!
  • Blackness Fills The Night
  • All The Rats Are Dead
  • Plague Rat
  • Epilogue


Bumblescratch has yet to reviewed, but the 2013 workshop was previewed by Daily Mail columnist, Baz Bamigboye.

Daily Mail

His dad, Robert B. Sherman, co-wrote (with his brother Richard) the songs for Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Now Robert Jr has written his own musical called Bumblescratch, featuring a rat named Melbourne. The story is set during the Plague and Great Fire of London.

Sherman started writing it before his father passed away last winter. ‘He listened to one song and shouted: “That’s your hit!” I’m pleased he at least heard some of it,’ he says. 

I’ve heard a few songs and they’re fun and inventive.

Robert is holding a workshop for Bumblescratch today and hopes to be able to mount a production in London. ‘I always wanted to write a sung-through musical that starts with the plague and ends with the fire; it’s an era full of rich drama,’ he adds.



The following trailer dates from the 2013 workshop of Bumblescratch.


Here is a selection of songs from Bumblescratch.
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