As the annual school residential visit approaches, Headteacher Mrs Grimm and teachers Mr Dainty and Miss Manly are holding a presentation evening to parents (your audience), to share details of the trip’s itinerary and give assurance that their children will be in safe hands! As each aspect of the forthcoming trip is explained, we witness flashbacks to the previous year’s ‘eventful’ visit, which didn’t exactly go according to plan!
After sharing in the children’s initial excitement about the prospect of being away from home (song – Let Loose!) we see the impact that the pending separation has on their doting parents. As three sets of mums and dads fret about the sleeping arrangements and the potential non-brushing of teeth, one couple cracks open the champagne to toast the fact they’ll have the house to themselves for five blissful days! (song – Peace And Quiet). Next we meet five bus drivers who, over a cuppa in the café, nervously await the first glimpse of next week’s rota, to see which of them has been given the job of taking the school trip. Even sympathy from the friendly waitresses doesn’t calm them, as they explain just what it’s like being on a bus with children! (song – Bus Driver Blues).
Excitedly awaiting the arrival of their young guests are the staff of the Slippery Slopes Activity Centre, who discuss last-minute preparations which they hope will help avoid the need to give any more refunds this year! Having assured the manager that a list of challenging activities has been planned, that most of the toilets now flush, that there is warm-ish water in some of the bathrooms and that the air-ambulance is on standby, they throw open the doors! (song – Roll Up, Roll Up).
However, poor plumbing, five-mile hikes and hole-digging (then hole-filling) challenges aren’t exactly what the children and their teachers had hoped for, and they become disillusioned with their residential experience. They argue amongst themselves and find it impossible to work as a team, culminating in a disastrous attempt to build and sail a raft! (song – Let’s Build A Raft). The whole thing is made worse by the fact they are ridiculed by the other residents of Slippery Slopes, the smug and highly competitive pupils and teacher from the Toffington College of Excellence and High Achievement. (song – Toffington College). Can the children pull together to gain something positive from their five days away, or will it all have been just a waste of time?
A secret midnight feast is planned for their last night at Slippery Slopes (song – Midnight Feast). However, with adults on the prowl, a shortage of suitable confectionary and the Toffington lot threatening to ‘dob them in’, the children must be resourceful, dig deep and discover a bit of team-spirit which will ensure they finish their trip on a high. In a nail-biting climax they pull out all the stops and come to realise that anything can be achieved with the trust and support of good friends…and the ability to shin down a drainpipe! (song – Forever Your Friend).