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Oxford Playscripts: The Demon Headmaster (Oxford Modern Playscripts) Paperback – 18 Sep 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (18 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198320647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198320647
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 16.8 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gillian Cross has been writing children's books for over thirty years. Before that, she took English degrees at Oxford and Sussex Universities, and she has had various jobs including working in a village bakery and being an assistant to a Member of Parliament. She is married with four children and lives in Dorset. Her hobbies include orienteering and playing the piano. She won the Carnegie Medal for Wolf and the Smarties Prize and the Whitbread Children's Novel Award for The Great Elephant Chase.

Product Description

Review

An excellent, breezy, entertaining play with lots of potential for theatrical business and opportunities for the involvement of all of your pupils/drama group. I would gladly do it again. (5 Start Amazon Review)

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Exciting and skilful adaptations of a range of modern novels

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ap Noakes on 23 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lloyd and Harvey get more than they bargined when they get a new foster sister called Dinah. On her first day at school Dinah notices there is something is wrong, all the children are well behaved and keen to learn, the prefects behave like teachers, only worse and the whole school is run by the mysterious Headmaster. Lloyd and Harvey along with their friends Ian, Mandy and Ingrid are treated as outcasts and trouble makers as they are the only five who behave as children normally do. Dinah soon discovers that the Headmaster uses hynostism to control the children in the school and tries to alert Lloyd and the others to this but unfortunatly she too is under the Headmaster's influence and is at first unable to tell them. When she does at last she is introduced to SPLAT (Society for the Protection of our Lives Against Them)made up of the five 'normals' and together they plot to foil the Headmaster's evil plans and get rid of him for good.

Great book with a terrific story. Probably one of the earliest examples of a children's book that portrayed the child characters in a realistic way rather than the goody goodies portrayed by the likes of Enid Blyton.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charlie-CJ HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 22 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback
First published in 1982, this book reads a bit like a cross between Enid Blyton's secret seven and the My parents are aliens TV series, except that here the very odd characters are at school rather than at home. Dinah has just moved to a new foster home where the incumbent boys (particularly older brother Lloyd) are very suspicious of her. Perhaps with good reason, as from the very first day at her new school, Dinah can see that something is horribly wrong. All the schoolchildren are just too perfectly behaved, and her free-thinking step-brothers are being excluded and treated as trouble-makers. And before long, the Headmaster asks to see Dinah....

My son (10) is really enjoying me reading this book to him at bedtime (at 160 pages it is taking a while). We started off with the Puffin edition and then bought this edition when the library recalled it. We were disappointed that, unlike the Puffin version, this book has no illustrations (and the front cover is a bit bland compared to the traditional cover image of the Demon Headmasters face - but then in a way the old cover gave away a lot of the plot). But the story reads well enough without line drawings, and we have now bought all the other five books in this series : The Demon Headmaster and the Prime Minister's Brain, The revenge of the Demon Headmaster, The Demon Headmaster takes over, The Demon Headmaster strikes again, and Facing the Demon Headmaster. They must be read in order to make sense of what is going on.

Some of the language in Demon Headmaster seems dated, mainly Lloyd's food related exclamations, which make it read very much like a 1950s Enid Blyton book (no bad thing - and my sons often laughs out loud at his expressions).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Gillian Cross' Demon Headmaster is the best book I've ever read it's all about a headmaster who can hypnotise people by taking off his glasses and he plans to take over the world!
The books go like this; The Demon Headmaster,The Demon Headmaster and the Prime Ministers Brain, The Revenge of the Demon Headmaster, The Demon Headmaster takes over and The Demon Headmaster strikes again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We have just finished our 3 night run of this play at the school where I teach drama. This was the lower school production for 11 - 13 year olds and there's just the right level of menace, adventure and comedy to appeal to that age group. The script is excellent; well plotted, comic, pacey, plenty of characters and team dynamics - I did it with a cast of 24 and it required just a little doubling up.

Its a crowd pleaser - the audience loved it, plenty of laughs, and the girls I teach had great fun becomming the scary prefect characters, the zombie-fied pupils and the heroes. You can also put your stamp on it as a director - we have quite a small studio space and I needed to have the scenes merge into each other through choreographed movement - the prefect scenes with their military style particularly suit this and the overall spookiness is fun. The play also suits a theatrical and exaggerated style and there's the opportunity for physical theatre, slow-mo, freeze and choral work. The Eddy Hair TV scenes are zany and you can really go to town on them (don't get too hung up about making it look like its on TV, just play it to the audience with lots of music-hall crowd participation). I imagine you could put this play on anywhere if pushed; classroom, studio, hall or even outside in the summer.

The first 'half' is approx 40 mins, the second about 25-30. Perfect length for a school play. There are great opportunities throughout for the use of music, light and sound effects, but it would also work with a basic set up.

Quirks: The occasional custard pie bits require a bit of thought - we tried real custard in the rehearsals and it went everywhere! There are also props that appear in the script that are not listed at the front, so give it a good scan.
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