Reviewed by Dianne Bates
This handy A4 page book is a collection of plays suitable for middle to upper primary students. Each play, written in the pantomime tradition, is based on a familiar fairytale or story, all with either a fun twist and a moral or a message such as the value of sharing or it’s not good to brag. It’s a well-thought out book in many respects. Plays can be adapted to accommodate varying cast members, for example the narrator’s role can be taken by a chorus of speakers, so it’s possible to cater for an entire class. As well, there are comprehensive teachers’ notes which provide play performance information such as how to use the plays in the classroom. At the back of the book is a glossary and vocabulary lists
At the beginning of each play, the cast is listed along with costume or prop suggestions as well as other helpful information such as stage set-up and points for discussion. Every play employs a narrator who sets the scene and also links scenes within the play. On each page there is a black and white cartoon illustration of one of the play’s characters. In keeping with the user-friendly nature of the book, the pages of all of the plays are printed on one side of the paper so that the book, if so desired, can be dismantled and pages photocopied to give all cast members their own script.
In ‘Rudolph to the Rescue’, Santa’s reindeer boast of their respective abilities; poor Rudolph doesn’t compare favourably, but of course when Santa needs a leader on the foggy Christmas night, Rudolph is just right for the job. At the end of this play is music – and lyrics – for a song to be sung by the whole cast.
‘Goldi Meets the Three Bears’ is set ‘way out in the Australian bush, where the eucalyptus grows.’ The ‘bears’ are actually koalas who tell Goldi, ‘We’re cute and cuddly marsupials! We’re koalas! We’re not bears!’
All of the plays such the two mentioned here employ gentle humour, and of course they are all to be spoken in rhyming verse (easier than prose for cast members to remember their parts).
This book ticks all of the boxes when it comes to providing the classroom teacher with a bunch of fun plays which are sure to be enjoyed.