I’ve lost count of the number of residential trips I’ve been on as a teacher. Let loose from the constraints of the classroom, this is a time for adventure. Anxious parents dread them (mostly), professional teachers pretend to like them and excited children anticipate them with a mix of nervous energy and excitement. They are the making of everyone. No child or teacher ever comes back from a trip without being changed in some way, and 99 per cent of the time it’s for the better.
That’s why it is so great to see a musical about a residential. Let Loose, from Edgy Productions, is written for KS2 and is perfectly suited for a mid-term or end of term show, or for a final farewell leavers performance.
Here’s the story in a nutshell: a headteacher and a couple of teachers hold a presentation evening to explain to parents the details of the residential, and convince everyone their children will be in good hands. As each part of the approaching trip is described, we witness flashbacks to the previous year’s visit, which wasn’t exactly a smooth operation.
We also see the impact that the imminent separation has on devoted mums and dads. While three lots of parents agonise about the sleeping arrangements and the probable non-brushing of teeth, another couple cracks open the bubbly to toast the fact they’ll have the house all to themselves for five sweet days. Then there are the handful of bus drivers uneasily awaiting next week’s rota to see which of them will be on board for the school trip.
The story then moves to the staff of the aptly named Slippery Slopes Activity Centre, who discuss last-minute arrangements which they hope will help circumvent the need to give any more refunds this year. However, dodgy plumbing, five-mile treks and hole-digging challenges aren’t what the children and staff had in mind. They soon become disillusioned, arguing amongst themselves and finding it impossible to work as a team, climaxing in a calamitous effort to construct and sail a raft.
Everything is made worse by being ridiculed by another school staying at the centre – Toffington College of Excellence and High Achievement (with their motto ‘win at any price’). Can the children work together to gain something positive from their five days away?
This hilarious musical is full of laughs and children, staff and parents will all have more than one reflective moment of “I know how that feels”. I love the script. It’s written in a tongue-in-cheek style, but there is actually plenty here that will have everyone giving each other knowing glances of “Yes, that’s about right.”
While there’s always something to be said for writing your own production, we all know the enormous effort this can involve. This ready-made show takes all that time and pressure out of the equation. The performance pack is a book and CD (or you can order it digitally if you prefer) that contains everything you need to make this musical a smash hit. The contents include information on copyright and licensing, an introduction and plot summary, a character list (with 44 speaking parts), the script (with detailed stage directions), song lyrics, staging and production suggestions and piano score. The CD contains vocal and backing versions of all the songs, continuity and incidental music, and sound effects. The piano score has a vocal line and guitar chords.
Other than the sheer fun of it, what’s immediately obvious about this resource is that it has been created to a very high standard, leaving no stone unturned. The music, lyrics and script are charmingly arranged, cleverly put together and everything feels seamless. The songs are sung beautifully throughout, and the music is lively and poignant. The final production should be around the 60-minute mark, which is perfect for a substantial show that won’t leave impatient bottoms getting fidgety.
Here is a compilation of songs from Edgy Productions’ latest leavers’ musical, ‘Let Loose!’ The perfect way to say goodbye to primary school! Have a look at their KS2 leavers’ productions here
Price-wise this is a steal at £37. You would be struggling to get anything this good cheaper than that, and this production is just bursting with fun suitable for any school. If you are looking for something that combines laughter with moments of true reflection on what it is like to be a child, a member of staff or a parent, then this musical is for you. Ultimately, this production is about friendship and the memories of school trips that live with us forever.