All posts by James

The Rascally Diner

THE RASCALLY DINER – July 2022

Who? LAS Theatre

What? The Rascally Diner

Where? Oaklands Park – Outside Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 16th July 2022

What’s the show about? The Rascally Diner is based on the book The Rascally Cake by Jeanne Willis and Korky Paul. It’s about a disgusting chef who makes a grotesque cake out of ingredients including snot and a cow pat. He tells everyone to eat disgusting things. They think the cake is evil and trying to eat Rufus Skumskins O’Parsley (the chef) so we helped them look out for the cake by doing the Cake Check. In the end though, the cake was quite nice and wanted to help Rufus Skumskins O’Parsley to cook nicer, healthier food.

What was really good about it? I really thought that the show was extremely funny and that I would definitely never want or try to eat those disgusting things even once.

It was really clever the way the set was designed because the cake sprouted out of it all over the place.

My favourite bit was when we got to join in with the Cake Check and bang our pans together. I also liked it when the big cake came out and scared Rufus Skumskins O’Parsley.

What could be better? My sister went up to the front in the show and it would have been better if they made her really eat some of the food made from rats!

What my dad thinks? “The Rascally Diner is a joyous bit of silly nonsense, packed with gross jokes about the most disgusting foods you could possibly imagine. There was a good amount of audience participation as well, which kept the children engaged and active.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

The Lion King

THE LION KING – July 2022

Who? Year 6 at St James – Emsworth

What? The Lion King

Where? St James CofE Primary – Emsworth

When? 14th – 15th July 2022

What’s the show about? This show is based on the Disney film The Lion King. It’s the story of Simba the lion and how he becomes king. At the start we see Simba when he’s a young cub and his dad is teaching him all about the circle of life. When his dad dies, Simba takes the blame and runs away so his evil uncle (Scar) becomes king.

A few years later, after he’s met some new friends (Pumbaa and Timon) he returns to the Pridelands and faces Scar to take the throne back.

What was really good about it? I really liked the music and the way the children acted. The people I found the most funny were Zazu and Pumbaa. They were great because Zazu said few funny things and I think Pumbaa was funny because of the way he used his acting and voice.

What could be better? I wish I had said I would be in it. I’ll have to do it next year.

What my dad thinks? “This was a fantastic school production. The singing, acting, set, costumes and make-up were all exceptionally good and must have been the result of some phenomenal teamwork from the staff and pupils. Bravo.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

My sister performed with the choir for the show. She was a zebra. We called her Debra the Zebra!

Year 6 Leavers Song

It’s the time of year where we begin to plan our Year 6 leavers’ assembly and this year we’ve written our own song based on the song Six from the hit West End musical of the same name. Originally written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six tells the story of the six wives of Henry VIII using modern pop music and it’s really rather wonderful.

Some of our year 6 children are fans of the production and one of their parents came up with the idea of turning the title track into a Year 6 tribute. So she set to work on it and did a great job (shout out to Donna Giles). I then played with it a little bit more and put it to the music.

Below you can find the full version with the kids singing using a karaoke backing track from YouTube. After that is my original acoustic attempt. These are the lyrics.

Full version with Karaoke backing
Acoustic version – 1st 3 verses and chorus

If you want to play it on the guitar, you can find the chords on Ultimate-Guitar.com.

You’ll find our lyrics on this Google Doc, please feel free to use them to make your own version.

This is last year’s leavers’ song based on Shotgun by George Ezra

Arsenal vs leeds – tom’s match report

We met Gunnersaurus before the match.

We got to meet Gunnersaurus before the game outside of the Armoury. We also said hello to, Arsenal legend, Bob Wilson in the car park before the match. Finally, before going in, we got to see the Rugby League World Cup trophy. The Emirates will be hosted some of the matches later in the year.

Me and my dad with the Rugby League World Cup trophies

The Line-Up

Today Partey and Tierney will probably miss the end of the season with the long term injuries and I will be glad to see them again next season. I did not expect Martinelli to start over Smith Rowe, I thought Marinelli would come on for Emile Smith Rowe in the second half. Also Ben White is out with an injury, but hopefully he is back next week.

Ramsdale

Soares Holding Gabriel Tomiyasu

Ødegaard Elneny Xhaka

Saka  Nketiah  Martinelli

First Half

Before kick-off the Arsenal fans got to sing our new anthem, ‘The Angel’ by Louis Dunford. It was really good and should happen at every match. This is what is sounded like from where we were.

Within the first two minutes, Arsenal got a free kick from Saka being fouled. Odegaard whipped the ball in across the penalty area slightly missing one or two diving heads. Three minutes later, Arsenal super striker Nketiah pounced on a heavy touch by Illian Meslier, the young Leeds goalkeeper from France, and Eddie knocked the ball into the back of the net.

Ten minutes gone and Nketiah could not wait for more as Martinelli crossed the ball in and Eddie scored, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.

Half an hour in and Luke Ayling, the Leeds United right back, got sent off for a ferocious tackle on Gabriel Martinelli, who had been only just able to actually keep the ball in play. The ref gave a yellow to begin with, but VAR made him check it. It did take some time, including a yellow card for Raphinha for protesting about the initial foul being a yellow card instead, but eventually he gave the red.

Arsenal did have some other fabulous chances to score, including two corners. Just before half time, Arsenal had another free kick, Meslier got a hand to the ball as Marcos Llorente bicycle kicked off the line, towards the corner flag.

At Half Time

At half time, the Arsenal 1971 double winning team came out. Players like Charlie George, George Graham, Frank McLintock and Bob Wilson all came out to applause from the crowd. My Grandad was jealous.

The legends of ’71 came out at half time

Second Half

In the 2nd half, Arsenal still had most of the ball but the Leeds fans were really helping to support their team. Leeds could have been able to catch Arsenal on the counter attack. During the first ten to twenty minutes of the second half Arsenal had six corners, four consecutive, two afterwards.

Sixty-six minutes in, Leeds had their 1st corner, whipped into the back post. Llorente slides downward tucks the ball under Aaron Ramsdale to score. Completely against the run of play. Arsenal were a bit nervy at times after that with Leeds on the attack. Ramsdale had to make some amazing saves to keep Arsenal ahead. Arsenal did have some more attempts though.

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Eddie Nketiah because of his cheekiness to sneak up on Meslier to score his first goal and class to score his second.

Ramsdale – 7

Soares 5 Holding – 7 Gabriel – 7 Tomiyasu – 8

Ødegaard – 8 Elneny – 8 Xhaka – 7

Saka – 8  Nketiah – 9  Martinelli – 8

Arsenal are now four points ahead of fifth placed Spurs, with the North London derby on Thursday. We’re also a point behind third place Chelsea, so Arsenal might snatch third place!

Read my other match reports and review here.

Arsenal v Brighton – Tom’s Match Report

The Line-Up

Tomiyasu, Partey and Tierney are now all out with long term injuries so Arteta played Granit Xhaka at left-back and Sambi Lokonga in midfield with Martin Ødegaard and Emile Smith Rowe. Having Xhaka at left-back meant the midfield had neither Xhaka or Partey and everyone in the ground agreed that was a bad thing.

Ramsdale

Soares White Gabriel Xhaka

Ødegaard Lokonga Smith Rowe

Saka  Lacazette  Martinelli

First Half

Arsenal were basically rubbish for the first 20 minutes but had a couple good chances to go in front, including a header from Gabriel Magalhaes from a free kick, swung in by Bukayo Saka. In the 28th minute, Leandro Trossard scored, easily slotting the ball in the top corner past Aaron Ramsdale, after a cross whipped in by Enock Mwepu, who got the assist.

Just before halftime, Martinelli equalised from a corner, again swung in by Saka, scoring a header from another header knocked on by Gabriel. Unfortunately, it was finally ruled out for offside by VAR after what felt like a few hours. I’ve watched it back loads of times and still don’t know if it really was offside. The point is, VAR is rubbish.

Second Half

Midway through the 2nd half, Mwepu scored Brighton’s second. It was a bullet strike, firing into the bottom left corner from the edge of the box following a great team move with an assist from Caicedo.

Arsenal finally improved and started to play well for the last 10 minutes. Ødegaard hit the bar from a freekick, then Nketiah hit the bar again from the rebound. Eventually Arsenal scored, in the 89th minute, through a deflected wonder strike produced by Martin Ødegaard from about 35 yards out. But it was too little, too late and the match ended 2-1 to the away side.

Arsenal are in a frustrating place right now, fifth in the table and on a bad run of form. Hopefully they can turn it around against Southampton next week.

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Martin Ødegaard because he used great technique to score his goal. The only really good thing about the game.

Ramsdale – 6

Soares – 6 White – 6 Gabriel – 5 Xhaka – 6

Ødegaard – 7 Lokonga – 5 Smith Rowe – 6

Saka – 6  Lacazette – 5  Martinelli – 6

Pinocchio

PINOCCHIO – December 2021

Who? Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

What? Pinocchio

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 18th December 2021 – 1st January 2022

What’s the show about? It’s the story of a wooden puppet called Pinocchio and the toymaker who made him. Pinocchio just wants to become a real boy but he can’t because he’s made out of wood. It’s not easy for him because people want to steal from him and he doesn’t always listen or make good choices. Every time he tells a lie his nose grows longer. He gets lost along the way but in the end he finds his way home with Geppetto who is his toymaker and father.

What’s really good about it? I really liked all of it but my little sister, who is 6, found some of it a little bit scary. The singing and harmonies were really interesting to listen to. The set was clever because it moved around and it was a shop, a school, a café and even a sea monster. All of the acting was great even though they were all children. The ones who were pretending to be puppets were very funny and clever. I really like maths and there was a good bit in it when Pinocchio does some really quick mental maths and I thought it was surprising and impressive.

What could be better? If there was an interval we could have had an ice cream, that would have been good. My sister thinks the sea monster was scary, so if that wasn’t there it would have been better.

What my dad thinks? “The ensemble singing was particularly impressive this year and overall I think it’s the best CFYT production I’ve seen.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

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StickMan

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STICKMAN – December 2021

Who? Freckle Productions

What? Stickman

Where? Minerva Theatre – Chichester

When? 10th – 24th December 2021

What’s the show about? Stickman is a Julia Donaldson book about a stick who living in a family tree with his wife and 3 children. One day he goes for a jog and gets bitten by a dog. Then a girl spotted him and used him for a Pooh Stick race. After that a swan catches him in her beak and uses him to make her nest. Lots of other things happen to him and he gets further away from the family tree. In the end he was lucky to get rescued by Santa and taken home.

What’s really good about it? It’s a really funny show. I liked how only 3 people performed all of the roles. It must be such hard work. I loved how the tree stump was used in every scene and made into different places including the sea, the snow, a sandcastle, a swan’s nest and a fireplace as well as being the family tree. Stickman was my favourite character because it must have been really hard for him to go through all of those challenges and persevere like that. The mince pies I had before the show were really good and so was lunch at The Bell Inn afterwards.

What could be better? I think it could have been a bit longer but it was for little children so that was ok. I liked the music so it would have been good if there were more songs. We didn’t have an ice cream again – hopefully next time.

What my dad thinks? “The kids loved it and there were more than a few laughs for the adults as well. I chuckled more than I probably should at the fish saying ‘bubbly’. Also, the live music was a good touch and shows the versatility and skill of the cast.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤

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Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

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FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD – January 2022

Who? Kenny Wax Family Entertainment & MAST Mayflower Studios co-production

What? Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

Where? Chichester Festival Theatre

When? 12th – 16th January 2022

What’s the show about? It was all about a girl called Jade who is in a museum on a school trip. She leaves her group and goes to a closed area where she learns all about some fantastic women who changed the world when she meets them and they tell her about what their lives have been like. Jade wants to go on an adventure like they have been and they help her decide what she might want to do. In the end she is inspired to go on her own journey and be herself.

What’s really good about it? All of the songs were really fun. I especially liked Deeds Not Words and You Will Be Fantastically Great. I really liked that we learnt a lot as well as it being a good show. In other shows I have known the story before, but I didn’t know about all of these people and they were really interesting to hear about.

What could be better? No interval means no ice cream. Again. Other than that, it was really good.

What my dad thinks? “This one is ideal for children aged 6-12 years of age. Some of the songs were great and the empowering and uplifting message was wonderful for both of my children to hear. It was kind of a cross between Disney Descendants and Horrible Histories (but without the horrible bits). Parking was nightmare, but I won’t hold that against the show, and they did hold the curtain for 10 minutes, so fair play.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤❤❤

The Hug at the Minerva Theatre

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THE HUG – February 2022

Who? A Long Nose Puppet Show

What? The Hug

Where? Minerva Theatre – Chichester

When? 25th – 27th February 2022

What’s the show about? This is a show based on a book by Eoin McLaughlin. Two animals, a hedgehog and a tortoise, are both wanting hugs but getting neglected because the tortoise is a hard animal and the hedgehog is a spiky animal. At the end the Wise Old Owl gives some good advice and introduces the hedgehog and tortoise to each other and they finally both get a hug.

What’s really good about it? At the end the magpie from the show was handing out little books, I thought that is quite clever as he wanted money. I also liked how much music there was in the show, the friendship theme was good as well. My favourite character was the Wise Old Owl because of his helpfulness and advice.

Before the show, we went to a Creation Station, we made frogs, bears and were aloud to make anything we wanted to out of clay. I decided to make a baby bunny tucked into a ball.

What could be better? I think the show could have been better if I did not get pins and needles, it was uncomfortable sitting on the floor but the floor had huge beanbags so it was OK. There were a couple of funny things near the start of the show but not many, so it could have been funnier. Lastly, there was no interval again, so no ice cream again – but it was OK as I had a cookie this time at the Creation Station.

What my dad thinks? “I didn’t know that a peanut isn’t a nut – they are considered legumes like soybeans, lentils and chickpeas. Also, cashew nuts aren’t nut, they are fruit. Well actually they are drupe seeds pulled from soft fruit packages. So, you know, I learnt something new.”

Star Rating – ❤❤❤

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Creation Station and a very good cookie!

Singing Assemblies

We really missed our Singing Assemblies while they were restricted by COVID-19, but now they are back and it’s glorious. Some schools like to go down the traditional route of songs that I have been sung for decades in British schools. Personally, I prefer to pick modern songs that the have a positive message and might be more familiar to our children. The children respond by absolutely singing their hearts out.

I’ve compiled this massive Google sheet of some of the tried and tested songs with video links to original videos, karaoke versions and lyric videos that can all be used in singing assemblies. If you have any recommendations that I should add to the list, please put them in the comments.

Many of the songs included on the list come from recommendations from other teachers on Twitter. As we’re not a church school I’ve not included any of the many songs suggested to me with religious meaning. I hope the songs included can be used by schools whether they are faith schools or not. It’s just a list of songs that children love to sing.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom during lockdown, we kept going with Virtual Singing Assemblies for people to join in with whether they were at home or in school. You can find them here in all their random glory.

I use this PowerPoint as part of our Cultural Assemblies every week. It’s a great way of sharing high quality recording artists from all over the world with the children. The music is from different time periods and genres and is played while the children are arriving, I then give them a little history about the artists.