By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]
What a spiffingly delightful show! From the moment the audience filed through the front door of the auditorium, they were immediately transported to the prestigious Grange Wood School for girls as they were greeted by the proud headmistress, Miss Gibson and a choir of girls singing hymns in the entrance hall.
Daisy Pulls it Off shows a tongue-in-cheek look at the world of a British girls’ private school in the 1920s. The story, an original West End hit by Denise Deegan tells the story of teenage girl, Daisy Meredith, who is from a poor family – four boys and one girl (our heroine Daisy). Her father is believed dead, and she is brought up by her mother originally an opera singer who had to revert to giving singing lessons to pay the rent and care for her five children.
Daisy wins a scholarship to Grange Wood boarding school, something never heard of in the history of the school, and then has to deal with the snobbery and cattiness from the pupils already there who come from privileged and monied families.
Claudia Finn-Westwood confidently acted the part of Sybil Burlington, the rich and privileged snob. Along with her crony Monica Smithers, played by Dani Honour, Sybil devises a series of wretched plans to have Daisy expelled, plans which the gullible Monica invariably had to put into action.
Daisy however shows pluck and resilience against her enemies and makes friends at the school with the much loved head girl and sports captain of the year Claire Beaumont (Rosie Wright) and the madcap poetic Trixie Martin (Izzy Pires).
Despite some of the teachers’ and students’ scepticism about an elementary school girl’s ability and the fear that she may lower the standards at Grange Wood, Daisy’s new found friend, Trixie, sticks by her, with gutsy determination and proved a much loved character of the audience. To the delight of the teaching staff and the chagrin of most of the other pupils whatever Daisy (Sarah Winstanley) turned her hand to, she always came out on top – geography, poetry, hockey – what a whizz she was on the hockey pitch. Oh, and did I mention her singing voice? Daisy was encouraged to sing solo by Mr Scoblowski (Lloyd Delderfield) and the audience was spell bound by the clarity and trueness of Daisy’s voice when she sang unaccompanied. Uncommonly spiffing as her friend Trixie would have said.
Of course Daisy pulls if off by saving her nemesis from certain death, finding treasure that will secure the future of the school, discovering that the groundsman (the mysterious Mr Thompson) is her long last father who had been suffering from amnesia, and makes friends with the remorseful Sybil and Monica.
The energy and enthusiasm of the team of young actresses brought the stage alive and recreated a vision of boarding school life with hot water bottle fights, midnight feasts, secret passwords and of course some good old games of jolly hockey sticks!
But as always none of this could have been done without sound preparation, casting and planning. There were more rounded vowels that you could shake a stick at, and David Butler-Cole is to be awarded an A+ for his obvious hard work on elocution and enunciation.
A merit award for the fantastic work undertaken by the Production Team and in particular the Stage Crew, who moved like black panthers throughout the show ensuring all was in place on time.
Needless to say we have kept the Distinction Award for Daisy’s Director, Chris Winstanley, who had the vision, energy and tenacity to pull this all together.
The use of the foyer, auditorium and one-set stage was amazingly uncommon and absolutely super!
Daisy, Chris and all the team – you really pulled it off!
For more information about joining the Algarveans experimental theatre group, please telephone Nikki on 917 776 245 or emailz [email protected].