Fishbourne CE Primary School students line up to review Matilda The Musical

Young critics from Fishbourne Primary School
Young critics from Fishbourne Primary School

Students at Fishbourne CE Primary School became theatre critics for the day.

Head teacher Naomi Day said: “In this learning experience, the children were commissioned by the Chichester Observer to become theatre critics – learning the skills needed to write reviews of good enough quality to be published!

“As with all our learning experiences, we started with a baseline and identified personalised steps of learning for each child. The children were then immersed in a range of different reviews and critiques, including film reviews, restaurant critic reports, book reviews and even looking at our Ofsted report in some classrooms: all presented in a range of different of formats. The children looked at WAGOLL’s (What A Good One Looks Like) and discussed the purpose and audience of their chosen style of review, looking at the effect they were trying to have on their readers! Other steps included: collecting vocabulary for this style of writing; modelling evaluative sentence construction; having a go for themselves; paired and shared writing opportunities and so much more!

“The children were incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and work alongside a theatre critic. Kate Bassett is a journalist, columnist and literary advisor for Chichester Festival Theatre. Kate worked with all the children in school, giving them a unique insight into the way she approaches reviewing a play.

“With all these steps of learning well underway, we were ready to go to the theatre. The excitement built during the course of the week and a great deal of organisation took place behind the scenes to make sure everyone was safely delivered to and from their shows! Our Reception and Year 1 children went off to see Zog in Worthing, while the older children went to the Mayflower to see Matilda. For many of our children it was the very first time they had been to the theatre and expectations were high! The atmosphere was electric and the children’s reactions to both Zog and Matilda were magical.

“Then it was back to school, to work on the reviews! Here are a small selection from our talented children:”

Mighty Matilda!

Are you a Roald Dahl fan or do you want to see a five star show? If this is you then get in your car and buy your tickets right now! The superb, stunning set was made to amaze you because it was made out of scrabble pieces. The interesting bright set was designed by the intelligent Rob Howell. Rob Howell made some other cool things like a gym, school, slide, desks and chairs. The chairs and desks came out of the floor and were incredible.

|He also created some brilliant costumes. He made Miss Honey look lovely with a small pink cardigan and a sweet dress with cute glasses.

The star of the show is Scarlett Cecil. I thought she was amazing as Matilda. She said every word very, very clearly. In my opinion this musical is brilliant! I’d recommend this show for ages 7 and over.

Right. Listen up. Get in the car and buy some tickets now!

By Eliza, Year 2

* * *

Matilda is utterly remarkable! The company, who are wonderfully talented, provide indescribable enthusiasm and realism throughout. Unbelievable, exhilarating lighting illuminates the individual brilliance of some the theatre’s most astonishing moments. Magnificent Matilda: the must-see musical!

Personally, I think that Miss Trunchball (Elliot Harper) was unbelievable in his emotions and his acting was phenomenal. Rob Howell (the set/costume designer) produced some spectacular, detailed costumes. Also, the scenery was beyond this world in detail, colour and was completely faultless.

Neglected and scarred, young Matilda is trapped inside her own storybook, jam-packed with twists and turns and ups and downs. Whilst trying to avoid the relentless torment of her menacing head teacher, Miss Trunchbull, Matilda discovers her teacher (Miss Honey) is the exact opposite.

Personally, I was annoyed that Miss Trunchball didn’t seem as frustrated and mad as the movie. Nonetheless, he sets really high standards throughout the performance and the comical factor is outstanding. Not to be forgotten, the vivid costumes have a colossal impact on the phenomenal production.

Overall, I think that Matilda is a must-see show and it is worth every penny in your account. It is absolutely brilliant and is a must see for anyone – not just theatre lovers! At the end, your hands will be uncomfortable because you would have been clapping so much.

Simply a play demanding to be seen!

Fred, Year 5

* * *

Prepare for your mind to be blown with emotion and shock. The tour of this West End musical, which spends the next month in Southampton, gets an A+ from me. This is a musical about a poor girl called Matilda and her miserable life.

Miss Trunchbull is a brain damaging, cruel head teacher who hates children so much. The lonely girl Matilda devours Dickens before breakfast and teaches herself Russian while her philistine parents simply guzzle TV and bully Matilda. Elliot Harper played a very believable Miss Trunchbull.

All the songs were amazing but my favourite was When I Grow Up. To me the choreography was exquisite particularly the School Song because how they pushed the blocks through at the right time.

In the hands of Tim Minchin and Denis Kelly, this show was marvellous. Matilda’s parents were outstanding and funny. I felt it was a rip roaring ride true to Dahl’s potty imagination with brilliant sets, for unforgettable songs and music and a cast second to none. Anyone who doesn’t love Matilda should go to detention with the diabolical Miss Trunchbull.

Elsie, Year 4

* * *

Wow! What a delightful musical! You should really go to watch Matilda.

Matilda is a story of a little girl who loves reading. Because of this, she really does not fit in with her parents, lazy brother and menacing head teacher. Finally, Matilda finds happiness with her teacher Miss Honey!

Miss Truncbull was a mean teacher who does not like children. Cleverly, behind her back she opened her hand like she was going to grab one of the children. Her loud, scary voice echoed through the theatre!

A tuneful orchestra played together to tell the story and when Miss Trunchbull appeared, the violin played a scary tune! The audience felt delighted when the swings swayed in time with the smooth music. Matilda’s voice had a beautiful tone to it.

* * * * * I would give it five stars!

I bet you will enjoy the show, hopefully as much as I did!

Lilyrose, Year 3.

* * *


Zog will blow your mind. The best part of Zog was when he breathed fire. The theatre was spectacular and Zog was fantastic. I liked the part when he flew because it was super incredible. The amazing music made me sing all the way home and I had a ROARSOME time!

Daril, Year 1

* * *


You will be very happy to see Zog because it will be funny! You will like the music because the music is nice! It will be sad because the teacher lost Princess Pearl. The dragons wear beautiful costumes and you will like it when the dragons fly.

Have a clawsome time!

Sarah, Reception

* * *


Matilda the Musical definitely gets an A star from me! It is an incredible performance of Roald Dahl’s book; it’s exuberant, dark and emotive all at once. I can barely find a fault in it. The songs are extremely catchy, the dancing was flawless and the lighting was perfect.

Matilda is a little girl who gets bullied by her TV-obsessed family. She goes to a school and loves everything about it, apart from the fact that the head teacher is none other than the tyrannical Miss Trunchbull! Her colossal frame towers above everyone and she tortures children by throwing them in the Choky. If you think that that is bad, later in the play Miss Honey reveals something that the Trunchbull did which is even worse…

Everyone is familiar with the scene where Miss Trunchbull hammer-throws a girl by her pigtails. You might think, how would they do that at the theatre? Well, they somehow manage to make it look very real. The special effects are incredible; they could not have been better. The lights black out, then the girl suddenly falls from the ceiling.

All the songs are brilliant, but my personal favorite is ‘Revolting Children’. All the dancing is amazing and it is sung completely by the ‘revolting’ children. They did not forget any of the lines and the dancing was perfectly in time. It is such a catchy song and at the end they even fired confetti cannons.

Scarlett Cecil is faultless as Matilda. It is amazing how someone as young her can be the star of such a well-known musical. She was easily one of the best actors on the stage, and she made playing the main part look easy.

Elliott Harper plays the part of the malevolent Trunchbull. He is terrifying and sometimes humorous, and he does not ghost out of character in the whole play. He has to have a lot of make-up to make him look like a woman, but Miss Trunchbull is supposed to look masculine, so it works perfectly. He plays the part outstandingly well.

Sebastian Torkia is Mr Wormwood, who is Matilda’s bully of a father. His body movements and facial expressions perfectly match Roald Dahl’s description of him in the book. He also provides comedy for the interval entertainment, where he sings about how much he loves the telly.

The one downside of this play is that Matilda’s brother barely says anything. The only things he says are ‘telly’ and ‘backwards’.

Other than that, it is incredible. Every minute is entertaining. This performance could easily be the musical of the decade. Anyone who dislikes this play deserves to get put in the Choky!

By Jake, Year 6