All posts by James

Grk and the Pelotti Gang

Grk and the Pelotti Gang – Joshua Doder

First published in 2006, I have been using this book in class on and off for the last 10 years or so. It’s a great class read for lower KS2 children to go alongside a topic about Brazil or rainforests. The Grk books all take place in different countries and help readers get a good understanding of each countries geography and culture as a backdrop to exciting narrative.

In this particular Grk adventure, the small, white dog and his owner Tim find themselves in Brazil. After being kidnapped by some street children from a favela in Rio de Janeiro, they come across Brazil’s most wanted criminals – the Pelotti Gang. Together Tim, Grk and one of the boys set out to bring the Pelotti’s to justice.

I adore this book because it’s action packed and it’s great to read in class or as a bedtime story because there are so many cliff-hangers that leave the children desperate to find out what happens.

Tom, age 8, says: “It’s really intriguing because you always want to know what happens next. I really like Tim because he’s really confident and brave and doesn’t let anything stop him from catching the Pelotti brothers. I’d like to read other Grk books because I think they’ll be intriguing and exciting like this book.”

Great games for kids and adults to learn together

This blog is a guide to some of the best games to play with adults and children. They encourage strategic thinking and are mostly small, lightweight games that are perfect for taking on holiday. They are also the sorts of games that have simple rules and don’t take long to play. These appeal to me because I have the attention span of a gnat.

Games include:

  1. OK Play
  2. Kluster
  3. Genius Square
  4. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
  5. Herd Mentality
  6. Sussed?
  7. The Sock Game
  8. P For Pizza
  9. Boggle
  10. Top Trumps
  11. Pass the Pigs

OK Play

OK Play is the perfect travel game for up to four players. It even comes with a carabiner to clip onto you backpack, belt or coat. It might be lightweight but it’s also an excellent strategic challenge for all ages. I’ve played this with my children and groups of adults and everyone finds it engaging.

It’s basically Connect 5, only, without the frame. Each player gets a set of coloured squares and attempt to make a row of 5 connected vertically, horizontally or diagonally. As you all get better at the game, eventually you’ll run out of square. Fear not, the game isn’t over. You can then pick up and move other squares. In theory the game could go on forever, but it never does. I’m usually busy trying to stop someone while someone else quietly wins on the diagonal.

OK Play is great for anywhere between 5 minutes or an hour.

Learn how to play OK Play here.


This game requires strategy and a steady hand. Take turns to place the magnetic pebbles inside the orange rope. If any pebble touch each other (or Kluster) on your turn, you must pick them up. The first person to get rid of all of their pebbles wins.

We found that, if you’re really careful, you can get all of the pebbles inside the ring of rope without causing a Kluster. This led to us tying a knot in the rope to make it a little smaller and add a bit more jeopardy.

This game is fun, quick and people of all ages are able to play, although it says 14+ on the box. I’m not really sure why. Unless the magnet are so powerful, they mess with the minds of the younger and more impressionable players. Or maybe they are worried that children aged 13 or younger might try to eat the pebbles. Either way, be warned.

Learn how to play Kluster here.

Genius Square

I adore Genius Square. I don’t think you necessarily need to be a genius to play it, but it was certainly created by a genius. With over 62,000 possible puzzles to solve, each with a least one solution, you’ll never get bored of this game.

It comes in a decent sized box, which makes it the least travel-friendly games on this list, but you could pop the pieces into bag to make it more compact.

Genius Square comes with two grid boards, 9 coloured different-shaped blocks and 7 ‘blocker’ pieces for each player, as well as 7 co-ordinates dice. Roll the co-ordinates dice, place the ‘blockers’ on the corresponding squares on your grid and then race your opponent to fill in the rest of the grid with the coloured shapes.

Learn how to play the Genius Square here.


Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is silly, funny and very intense. It’s sort of like Snap! for the 21st century. Each player has a pile of cards and takes turns to turn them over and place them on the pile in the middle. While placing the card down they must say the items from the name of the name in that order. So the first players says ‘Taco’, the second player says ‘Cat’ and so on. If the picture on the card matches the word being said, then everyone has to put their hand on the centre pile, last hand on the pile picks up all of the cards and adds them to their stack. The winner is the first to get rid of all of their cards.

That, in itself, would be fun and intense. However, there is another twist. There are also 3 other cards. The narwhal, gorilla and groundhog. If the groundhog card appears, you all need to bang the table and put your hand in the middle. If you get the gorilla, you all beat your chests before putting your hands in. Finally, if you get the narwhal, you clap above your heads before putting your hands in.

Learn how to play here.

Herd Mentality

This game is simple, silly and a whole lot of fun. The aim of the game is to not stand out from the crowd. The question wrangler reads out a question and you have to pick the answer that most other people will say. The players who choose the most common answer all get one cow token – first to 8 tokens wins. If you are the only player who gets a uniquely unpopular answer, you have the pink cow. You cannot win while you have the pink cow.

This game can lead to interesting and enlightening conversations with your friends and family. But more importantly, we laughed a lot while playing.

Learn how to play Herd Mentality here.


Another great game for getting the conversation started is Sussed. Sussed is an effective way to getting talking, laughing and sharing with your friends and family. Each player gets A, B and C cards and places them down to guess what the person asking the question would answer. I’m sure there could be a way of winning and losing and scoring points with this game, but we just enjoy having a few goes each and finding out about each other.

Learn how to play Sussed? here.

The Sock Game

The Sock Game has been a firm family favourite in our house for the past few years. Each team gets a sock filled with stuff and the players take it in turns to put a hand in the sock to try and retrieve the named item, without looking.

It’s great fun but can get rather intense. Also, look out for everyone’s sock-face. We’ve all got them. It’s the face we pull when our hands are furiously sifting through ping-pong ball and marbles to find a small spring.

The Sock Game came about when a couple of brothers crowd funded a game that their family had played for years. Find out more here.

Learn to play the Sock Game here.

Sounds Fishy

Sounds Fishy is a great game of bluff and double bluff. One player reads a question, but does not know the answer. The other players can see the answer, but only one of them reads it. The others all need to make an answer up. If their answer is picked by the questioner, they get a point. The questioner is looking for little clues in the reactions of the other players and the more you all play it, the harder it gets to spot the truth.

Learn how to play Sounds Fishy here.

P For Pizza

This is a really simply one, but it does get you thinking. You get a letter and a category and you simply have to think of something in the category that begins with that letter. As in, name a food that begins with a P and then you get P is for Pizza.

The winner of each hand gets a triangle and once you’ve got 9 triangles and made them into a pizza slice, you’ve won the game.

We found this very quick to play and my youngest did get a little disheartened initially when she wasn’t able to get an answer quickly enough. This led to us adapting how to play the game slightly, but it was still loads of fun.

Learn how to play P For Pizza here.


Boggle is an oldie but a goodie. I used to play this with my grandparents many years ago and play I it my own children now. You shake up the box of 16 lettered cubes, flip the egg timer and write down as many words as you can before the timer runs out. Words can be 3 or more letters long and can be made up of letters that connect horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

If I’m entirely honest, I wasn’t overly keen on Boggle as a child because I wasn’t the most confident speller. This may have been because I was the youngest child playing against older siblings and adults. You can tweak the rules for younger players if you like. You might allow them to submit two letter words or accept phonetically plausible attempts to encourage them. The more time spent playing word games and discussing spellings the better with when helping children learn to spell.

Learn how to play Boggle here.

Top Trumps

By this points its clear that you can get a set of Top Trumps for pretty much any interest you might have. If you chosen niche is catered for, you can always download a template and make your own. Like this one from TES.

Top Trumps are great for younger children to help them develop a their basic number and place value knowledge. Beyond that, they are fantastic to use as a teaching and learning device for any given subject whether history, geography, science or sports related.

Learn how to play Top Trumps here.

Pass The Pigs

This one is fun and silly but can be brutally harsh as you can be winning for the whole game, only to lose it all on your final go. I play Pass the Pigs at school as well as with my children at home and I’ve written about it before here.

Learn how to play Pass the Pigs here.

Top 10 Books for Children Aged 7-11

I’ve been keeping a log of the bedtime stories that I’ve read with my children over the last few years. Some are good, some less so and some have been absolutely fantastic. This is a list of our Top 10 Books for Children Aged 7-11.

10 – Grk and the Pelotti Gang – Joshua Doder

9 – My Parents Cancelled My Birthday – Jo Simmons

8 – Scribbleboy – Philip Ridley

7 – The Night Bus Hero – Onjali Q. Rauf

6 – Wild Boy – Rob Lloyd Jones

5 – While the Storm Rages – Phil Earle

4 – When Life Gives You Mangoes – Kereen Getten

3 – The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates – Jenny Pearson

2 – Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire – Andy Stanton

1 – The Land of Roar – Jenny McLachlan

Below you’ll find the reviews we wrote about the books when we read them.

10 – Grk and the Pelotti Gang – Joshua Doder

First published in 2006, I have been using this book in class on and off for the last 10 years or so. It’s a great class read for lower KS2 children to go alongside a topic about Brazil or rainforests. The Grk books all take place in different countries and help readers get a good understanding of each countries geography and culture as a backdrop to exciting narrative.

In this particular Grk adventure, the small, white dog and his owner Tim find themselves in Brazil. After being kidnapped by some street children from a favela in Rio de Janeiro, they come across Brazil’s most wanted criminals – the Pelotti Gang. Together Tim, Grk and one of the boys set out to bring the Pelotti’s to justice.

I adore this book because it’s action packed and it’s great to read in class or as a bedtime story because there are so many cliff-hangers that leave the children desperate to find out what happens.

Tom, age 8, says: “It’s really intriguing because you always want to know what happens next. I really like Tim because he’s really confident and brave and doesn’t let anything stop him from catching the Pelotti brothers. I’d like to read other Grk books because I think they’ll be intriguing and exciting like this book.”

9 – My Parents Cancelled My Birthday – Jo Simmons

My son and I were instantly hooked with this one because the opening chapter is: very funny; sets up an intriguing story; and leaves you really wanting to read on. It left me with the feeling that I had discovered a book I really wanted to tell people about, like the first time I read Mr Gum. I did then spend the next few days recommending the book to loads of people. I really liked the fact that it was funny and a little close to the bone (WARNING: do not read this book to a child who has recently lost a beloved pet, especially a dog).

It’s not the first Jo Simmons book we’ve read (see below for The Dodo Made Me Do It) and we’ve come back to her because I’ve really been enjoying her writing. Particularly that she doesn’t go for the lazy stereotypes that some celebrity children’s authors tend to favour. I enjoyed the relationship between the brother and sister in the book because it’s real. Yes they have their fall outs, but on the whole they really love and care for each other, like most actual siblings do.

The title is great and made me start to guess why the birthday had been cancelled. My assumptions were all wrongs and this book had many more layers to it than I had imagined. Brilliant for children aged 6-11 I would say.

8 – Scribbleboy – Philip Ridley

First published in 1997, Scribbleboy is certainly one of the older books we’ve read together. I was keen to share it with my son because I ‘ve always really enjoyed it myself, as have the children in the classes that I’ve read it with. Given that it’s now a quarter of a century old, some of the cultural references are a little dated, but that is also a great learning point for everyone. I was first introduced to Scribbleboy by Jo Payne and she has written here about why it’s such a great book.

Real life issues of divorce, disability, mental health and more are all touched upon in a way that is appropriate for KS2 children, making Scribbleboy an excellent jumping off point for meaningful conversations with children.

The story centres around a boy called Bailey who moves to a new flat with his dad and brother after his mum leaves them. Bailey is introduced to the world of Scribbleboy by Ziggy and together they develop a fan club in honour of the mysterious graffiti artist who brought colour to an otherwise dull neighbourhood.

While Bailey becomes deeply involved in the fan club, his dad and brother begin to move on with their lives. Bailey doesn’t find it easy to accept this and doesn’t approve of all the changes going on around him. He throws himself into the world of Scribbleboy as a way of forgetting what’s going on at home, but ultimately finds that the two worlds are more closely linked than he had realised.

Tom, age 9, says: “I really enjoyed Scribbleboy because it’s really interesting how they come up with the new scribble language. It’s funny how the letter S on Ziggy’s typewriter is broken, so he has to write them on himself. There are some really good twists in the story and you never know what’s going to happen or who the real Scribbleboy is. I would like to visit Tiffany the Ice Cream Doctor and Monty the Pizza Doctor to see what food they would give me.”

7 – The Night Bus Hero – Onjali Q. Rauf

It’s rare that you don’t like the central character in a book, but in The Night Bus Hero, Hector is particularly unlikeable to the majority of the story. He’s a bully and it’s a really interesting take to tell a story through this lens. Rauf doesn’t really make us try to sympathise with his awful behaviour, but we do get to understand some of his motivations and his thinking.

This would be a fantastic book to read aloud to a class because of the two main central themes of bullying and homelessness. I can imagine it starting interesting conversations within class and certainly giving the children a better understanding of the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.

The Night Bus Hero is a modern classic that I have been thoroughly recommending to many people ever since we finished it.

Tom, age 8, says: “It’s was unusual at the start because Hector was being a bully and I didn’t like him. It’s different when you go from a bullies point of view. I enjoyed the book very because as you get further into the book Hector becomes more of a nice person. The favourite bit was when they broke in and crept through to catch the thief. My favourite character was Thomas because he was interesting and clever and has a good name.”

6 – Wild Boy – Rob Lloyd Jones

This book is special. It’s one of those that I spent weeks asking friends and colleagues who are also into children’s literature whether or not they had read it.

It begins in a Victorian workhouse where we meet Wild Boy and learn about his incredibly hard life. From there he enters into world of the freakshow where he is treated horrendously. He longs to escape the freakshow and his master, but doesn’t have anywhere to go and doesn’t believe has can do anything else.

He is forced to go on the run when he accused of murder. The book p is brilliantly constructed as Wild Boy and his partner in crime detection, Clarissa, try to clear their names and uncover the truth.

There are many twists and turns along the way that keep you guessing who the real killer is and what their motives might be. This is an exactly book to read with upper key stage 2 and would especially great if you have a topic of the Victorians.

Tom, age 9, says: “It’s a really interesting book because they add more clues to the mystery as they go along. It’s like puzzle pieces finally fitting together to complete the jigsaw.”

5 – While the Storm Rages – Phil Earle

While the Storm Rages came highly recommended by a number of other children’s book reviewers, so Tom and I had to give it a go.

The story begins in London just before the outbreak of World War II. Noah’s dad is heading off to fight the Nazi’s and he is left at home with his mum and dog, Winn.

The declaration of war means big changes in everyone’s lives and for Noah it means evacuation and tragically that (like all other pets in London) Winn must be put down. In fact, in one week, 750,000 pets were put down in the UK. I had no idea. This horrific insight into living in a war-torn country allows the children hearing or reading the story to really empathise with some of the heart-breaking decisions being made by people.

Noah can’t stand the idea of having his beloved dog put down, so forges a plan (or the start of one) to save Winn and a few other animals that live in his neighbourhood as well. Noah is more about acting on impulse than considering the finer details of things, so the adventure takes many twists and turns. Fortunately for him, he has Clem (his best friend) as a companion and she is the brains of the operation.

The journey they go on is a struggle from start to finish with not too many happy points along the way. The story is epic and enthralling and offers a real glimpse of what children in London would have been thinking and feeling during those uncertain times. While the Storm Rages would be a perfect class read for any KS2 class that is studying World War II and, while desperately sad in places, is a completely compelling and generally excellent book.

Tom, age 9, says: “I really like the adventure they went on and how brave they were. Noah is my favourite character because of his courage to go through everything and because of his plans and ideas. I really like that you learn things about history in the story as well, I didn’t know that all the animals got put down in the war.”

4 – When Life Gives You Mangoes – Kereen Getten

When Life Gives You Mangoes is different to our usual bedtime stories. It’s a little more serious, but certainly not boring or without humour. It’s the story of a 12-year-old girl called Clara with lives with her mum and dad in a Jamaican coastal village. Clara seems to be quite a normal 12 year old, except something happened to her last summer that she can’t remember and this story is her journey to get those memories back and understand what’s really going on.

I adored this book. The characters are all relatable and wonderfully written and developed. I don’t really want go into too much detail because there is an awesome twist that stayed with us for a good few days after reading. All I will say is, read this book.

Tom, age 8, says: “It’s really good because there are surprises along the way. I really like how Clara faces her fears and went back in the water. I liked Rudy because she was fun and positive and supported Clara. I’ve never read a book with a big twist like this and I really recommend it.”

3 – The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates – Jenny Pearson

This book has more twists and turns than a Super G event. It came highly recommended and it did not disappoint one bit. Jenny Pearson’s writing is very funny, that much is clear, but I also loved the fact that serious issues were covered in a very relatable and empathetic way. Although the main character in the book (Freddie) is dealing with loss and trying to understand it, it’s never dark or particularly sad, it’s more comically poignant.

The story centres around the journey Freddie and his two best friends make at the start of their Summer holiday. It takes them along the south coast of Wales. As they meet an interesting range of diverse Welsh characters, it gives those of use who enjoy ‘doing the voices’ while reading aloud, the perfect opportunity to experiment with a glorious range of hearty Welsh accents.

The Miraculous Journey that the boys go on is absolutely brilliant. It gets better and better with many a jaw-dropping laugh along the way. I can’t recommend this book enough and it will doubtlessly a birthday or Christmas present for years to come.

An added bonus is that the illustrator is, lockdown hero, Rob Biddulph. If you’ve not yet spent time with your children, at home or in school, following a #DrawWithRob video, then you really must.

If you and your children enjoy the books of Jo Simmons, then this one should be next on your list.

Tom, age 7, says: “I really like it because it’s really funny and you can learn facts from it as well. My favourite fact was that pigs can’t look up, so they’ve probably never seen the stars.”

2 – Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire – Andy Stanton

Although this is the second book in the series, this was the first Mr Gum book I ever read when I was a trainee teacher. I loved it, and have since read it to both of my children and many of the classes I have taught.

It’s the story of a very wealthy gingerbread man with some curious ideas about friendship. The evil Mr Gum and his side-kick Billy William, steal the money and try to escape to France. Fortunately, a little girl called Polly and her friend Friday are on their trail to save the day. Despite a few set backs (and a lot of laughs) along the way, all ends well.

Bella, age 5, says: “I liked that Jake showed up in the end, because Polly was missing him and she was worried. I also liked that Alan Taylor and that he got his money back and threw it in the air.”

1 – The Land of Roar – Jenny McLachlan

We LOVED this book. It’s a magical adventure featuring dragons, a wizard, mermaids and a particularly scaring scarecrow. The journey Arthur and Rose go on is truly epic as they venture through a portal in their Grandfather’s loft into a realm created by their own imaginations.

The adventure they go on in order to save their Grandfather is incredible and full of danger and excitement. However, it is how the relationships between the characters develop that I really enjoyed. The twins at the centre of the story are growing apart at the beginning. This is often the case with siblings, as they mature at different rates and find different interests. It’s lovely to see them grow closer together as they find a new respect for each other and remember how much fun they can have when they believe.

The Land of Roar is a modern classic and I’m sure it will be made into a major feature film at some point soon. The follow up, ‘Return to Roar’, has recently been published, and it’s already in the pile of books next to my bed, waiting to be enjoyed.

Tom, age 7 says, “It was very, very dangerous at times, but I liked it lots.”

Mother Goose

Mother Goose – February 2023

Who? – Ambassador Theatre Group

What? – Mother Goose

Where?  Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 7 – 11 February 2023

What’s the show about? The show is about a mother called Caroline Goose, her husband Vic and son Jack, who all look after a group of animals including a cricket, a tortoise and a cat.

Then Cilla Quack come along – she’s a goose from Gooseland. She finds her way into the family and she helps them with paying the bills by laying golden eggs. The golden eggs help to pay off the evil energy company and all is going to plan.

However, Mother Goose gets tempted into a life of fame and fortune by Malignia in return for Cilla who is sent back to Gooseland.

Caroline Goose gets everything she ever wanted, but leaves her family and friends behind. Eventually she realises her mistake and tries to right her wrongs. This means she has to go on a mission to Gooseland to save Cilla and win back her family and friends.

What was really good about it? I enjoyed lots of it. The bit that I liked the most was the songs and the way that they were performed. I knew a few of the songs because they were famous songs that just had some of the words changed.

I also enjoyed the funny parts and laughed a lot but then again it’s a panto so I kind of expected some laughs. There were some parts that I didn’t understand but my dad laughed at which I didn’t understand as well. Interval meant ice cream! Yippee!

It was nice that it started at 5pm rather than 7:30pm, so when we got home I wasn’t too tired.

What could be better?  I think that there wasn’t much I didn’t enjoy or think that could be better.

What my dad thinks? Mother Goose is packed full of laughs for everyone. Quite a few were more for the adults but they sailed merrily over the heads of our children, so we all had a great time. The singing, particularly from a few of the ensemble, was very impressive. It was a privilege to see Sir Ian McKellen on stage again, and I hope he didn’t hurt himself too much when he took a tumble.

Star Rating –  🧡💛💚💙💜

Me and my sister after the show


Pinocchio – December 2022

Who? – Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company

What? – Pinocchio

Where? The Drum – Theatre Royal Plymouth

When? – 24 November 2022 – 14 January 2023

What’s the show about? The story of Pinoccio was told with actors and puppets. This show is about a family who, through a bedtime story, recreate the story of the father’s childhood. Throughout his life, he turns from a wooden puppet to a real boy, which was his childhood dream.

It was the first show I’d seen in Plymouth. It was a nice, big theatre but we were in The Drum which is the smaller one. There was still plenty of space.

What was really good about it? As with Stick Man about a year ago now, the reuse of the table, chairs, wardrobe and the rest of the props and the fact that only three actors played all of the parts was indescribable and inspiring.

I really liked that there were 3 different generations of the same family and I really enjoyed the grandfather when he kept playing the accordion.

It was really funny when they told lies because their noses grew. When they told really big lies the nose grew a lot and when they told silly little lies, the nose just grew a bit. The funny, silly lies were like, ‘the sky is green’ and ‘I’ve had dinner with an elephant.’

What could be better?  I think that it was sometimes hard to tell what tense they were performing in seeing as they switched through them so quickly. I found that a little bit confusing.

What my cousins thinks? 

The musical aspects that ran through the entire performance brought the narrative and storyline to life. It was understandable, fun to watch and join in with, and the energy that came across was infectious. Molly (age 17 and three quarters)

It was really good. Pinocchio was really fun watching. I was excited to watch Pinocchio because Auntie Jess told me about it. I was really wanting to watch Pinocchio’s nose grow. It was phenomenally funny. Annie (age 6 and three quarters)

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

Outside Theatre Royal Plymouth before the show

Wind in the Willows

Wind in the Willows – December 2022

Who? – Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

What? – Wind in the Willows

Where? – Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 17–31 December

It’s now been a year since I started writing reviews and I’m back at Chichester Festival Theatre for another one of their Christmas shows. You can find all of my other reviews here.

What’s the show about? Based on the Kenneth Grahame book bythe same name, Wind in the Willows is a show performed by the children of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre.

The story is set near a river and is about a mole and a rat who instantly become friends. Ratty takes Moley on his rowing boat on the river and teaches her all about the wild wood, the other animals and just the world in general.

One particular animal Moley was told about was Toad. Toad is funny and silly and gets into a bit too much trouble. The story is all about Toad’s crazy adventures and how his friends try and help him. Together, his friends help save Toad and Toad Hall (Toad’s home,) from the evil weasels.

Ratty is sensible and clever, Mole is inquisitive and kind and Badger is wise and friendly.

What was really good about it? I really enjoyed the duck song because the costumes were clever, the dancing was good and the song was catchy.

The boat, car and barge were cleverly made out of recycled materials. The barge was a Sprite bottle, the rowing boat a sardine tin and the car was an old bottle.

I liked all the characters but Toad was probably my favourite considering how funny he was.

Before the show, we went for dinner at my favourite Chichester pub, The Bell Inn. I had fish fingers, a sausage, a chicken nugget, broccoli, carrots and maybe a small squirt of tomato ketchup. It was perfect.

What could be better? I think more songs would be better as I really liked all of them.

This time I did get an ice cream at the interval, though. Yippee!

What my dad thinks? On more than one occasion I forgot that I was watching a youth theatre performance. The whole thing was just so well put together. I particularly enjoyed the ensemble singing.

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

SIX the musical

SIX – November 2022

Who? – A Kenny Wax, Global Musicians and Lucy Moss production

What?Six the Musical

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? – 22–27 November

What’s the show about? This show is about the six queens under the reign of Henry VIII. It’s more of a concert. Each song tells the story of each queen’s life with the king. The musical is basically a competition for who had the worst life as queen. Eventually, they decide they are all special in their own way.

What was really good about it? I really enjoyed the format of how there was 1 group song, then each queen got to tell their life story as queen through performance, then a big finale. I also liked the dancing with the music, I think they had to practice extremely hard, considering the level of perfection. In fact, I think I loved it all. I didn’t want the show to stop.

What could be better? I’m not sure if there was anything wrong. Maybe that there was no interval meaning no ice cream but that was because of how short it was.

What my dad thinks? It was great. It’s the second time I’ve seen the tour show and I loved it on both occasions. The soundtrack is brilliant and performed impeccably by the musicians and actors. Also, the show has a great message and is packed with historical content.

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

The Famous Five: A New Musical

The Famous Five: A New Musical – October 2022

Who? A co-production between Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatr Clwyd

What? The Famous Five: A New Musical

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 21st October – 12th November 2022

What’s the show about? 3 children (Julian, Dick and Anne) go to stay with their cousin (George) for the summer. After George falls out with her dad, the four of them and their dog (Timmy) decide to run away and go on an adventure. Unfortunately, George and Timmy got kidnapped and the others had to come to the rescue.

What was really good about it? The music was great. I really liked all of the songs and the way they were performed. They tell the story by acting out the song instead of dancing and it’s really clever.

I also enjoyed the funny bits of the show. Bobby was particularly funny and had loads of jobs. It was a bit like Miss Rabbit from Peppa Pig. I wasn’t sure how he had the time to do every job! He also (weirdly) wore lots of hats. I wasn’t sure where I would store them all.

My favourite characters were Dick and George. Dick because he kept talking about food and I felt I was agreeing with him most of the time. George was great because she was so brave and courageous and always looked for adventures.

There were some amazing puppets in the show. There was a puppet for the dog (Timmy) for the whole body. I wasn’t sure where the treats went once someone had given him one though. There was a puppet for a sheep, that was very funny, it could even make noises, like baa. I also liked the birds (puppets as well) flying around and through the air and the seal puppet made everyone laugh.

Before the show, we had an afternoon tea at the Brasserie, I especially enjoyed the blue candyfloss. My sister’s favourite thing was the blue candyfloss as well (see pictures below).

What could be better? We had a massive afternoon tea before the show, so we didn’t get an ice cream at the interval. Disappointing. Otherwise, it was a good show.

What my dad thinks? “The kids loved it. The songs were great (especially Jump, Fly, Fall) and there was a lot of humour in the show. The character of Bobby offered a lot of the laughs with some genuinely funny lines, but I didn’t really get why this otherwise likeable, happy character decided to become the evil sidekick to the villain.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

Plymouth Argyle vs Bolton – Tom’s Match Report

This was my first time watching Argyle since December 2019 and I was really looking forward to it.

When we got to Home Park we took our seats and found that we were sat right at the front. Luckily for me, I got to wave a flag on the pitch with some other supporters as the teams came out. This is me having a great time by the pitch.

The Line-Up

Argyle lined up with 3 at the back and were led by captain Joe Edwards who played at wingback. I was looking forward to seeing Villa loanee, Finn Azaz after he’d scored 3 goals in his first 5 games for the Greens.


Galloway Scarr Lonwijk

Edwards (C) Butcher Houghton Mumba

Mayor Azaz


First Half

The first twenty minutes were pretty even, but Bolton had the better chances. We also found out that the Bolton forwards like to dive, I feel that they should have got yellow carded.

The opening goal came from a long ball from Lonwijk that the Bolton defender missed and Niall Ennis latched onto, he put the goalkeeper on his backside and slotted the ball into the left bottom corner.

At Half Time

At half time Neil Warnock came out and was introduced to the crowd. He used to manage Plymouth Argyle.

Second Half

Bolton got much better, taking more chances and pouncing on the Argyle mistakes. Michael Cooper was brilliant between the sticks for Argyle and made a particularly magical save to keep it at 1-0. Diving to his right, Cooper lurched back to his left to tip the ball on to the post.

Ryan Hardie came on to score a great goal and secure the three points and sent the fans wild. Argyle are now up to fifth and are well placed to have a good season in League One and maybe even push for promotion.

Player Ratings

My man of the Match was Michael Cooper because he made great saves to keep Argyle in the lead and was a brilliant player throughout the match. Danny Mayor was great on the ball and calm under pressure while Dan Scarr was solid at the back. Mumba and Ennis were good at creating exciting chances.

Cooper – 9

Galloway – 7 Scarr – 9 Lonwijk – 6

Edwards – 7 Butcher – 8 Houghton – 7 Mumba – 8

Mayor – 9 Azaz – 7

Ennis – 8

Me and my Dad celebrate Ryan Hardie’s goal
The team celebrate Argyle’s second goal right in front of us
Outside Home Park before the match
With my Dad before the game

Crazy For You

Crazy For You – August 2022

Who? Chichester Festival Theatre

What? Crazy For You

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 11th July – 4th September 2022

What’s the show about? The show starts in New York with Bobby Child whose mum and fiancée, even though they hate each other, want him to be serious about his job at the bank instead of dancing.

Bobby ends up in Deadrock, Nevada to close the theatre, because of his job at the bank, but instantly falls in love with the owner’s daughter, Polly. He tries to trick everyone by changing his look to look like Bela Zangler, the theatre owner and producer back in New York. Then, as Bela Zangler, Bobby tries to put on a show to save the theatre. After an annoying amount of only two people coming (they weren’t even in Deadrock to see the show!) they decided to stop because it was a failure.

Just when all hope seemed lost, the real Bela Zangler walks in and weirdly no one notices him until after about two or three minutes later. Later, Bobby, still dressed up as Bela Zangler, sees the real Bela Zangler having a drink so he joins him. Then they do the same movements at the same time which was very funny.

After a few mix ups, Bobby and Polly eventually end up in the same place at the same time and realise they both love each other. The live happily ever after, probably.

What was really good about it? This was the first big musical I’ve been to see and it was amazing. I really liked the dancing that went along with the singing.

My favourite songs were I Got Rhythm and Slap That Bass. The singing and dancing was all brilliant.

The best scene was when Bobby and Bela danced together while copying each other. It was really clever and really funny.

I liked Charlie Stemp’s acting as well. He’s a really good dancer and I even got to meet him a few weeks before when we were at the theatre, he was very friendly to me and my sister.

It was great that there was an interval because I got an ice cream!

What could be better? I think it would have been even better if I went to a matinee because I was really tired and didn’t go to bed until after 11pm.

What my dad thinks? “Charlie Stemp is really talented. He’s a genuine triple threat, but it’s his dancing that drives the show. He’s an absolute ball of energy. It must be exhausting.

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

With my family before the show