Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

New Era - Daisy Pulls it Off

4th to 14th December 2002.

This is the Newbury Weekly News review.

Class act old girls

NEW ERA PLAYERS: 'DAISY PULLS IT OFF', at the New Era Theatre, Wash Common, from Thursday, December 12 to Saturday, December 14

Denise Deegan's spiffing good yarn 'Daisy Pulls it Off is the ideal antidote for a foggy, miserable December evening. Set in Grange-wood girls' boarding school in 1927, this enchanting tale is brimful of old fashioned values, hot botty fights, midnight feasts and a jolly good adventure story to boot.

Adults playing children can be fraught with difficulties with the characters often portrayed as stereotypes. All credit to director Tim Oldham who had obviously worked hard with the cast to create such believable individuals. Indeed the elderly lady sitting behind me exclaimed that they were 'spot on' and indeed they were!

The story concerns elementary schoolgirl, Daisy Meredith, who having been awarded a scholarship, to Grangewood faces the prejudices of both staff and pupils.

In the title role Georgina Gale was a veritable tour de force, blending naive innocence with a true sense of fairness and honour. She had the ability to capture the audience's hearts as she struggled with the adversity and cruelty of her fellow pupils. In particular the 'prickly pear' Sybil (Kathleen Sharrett) and her inseparable friend Monica (Elizabeth Davis).

Daisy and her chum, Trixie Martin the madcap poet, enthusiastically played by Rachel Lashford form a secret society, determined to find the Beaumont family's missing treasure.

Sue Keer was the splendid headmistress presiding over the 'gals' trying to maintain standards as the school faced being sold. Marie Jacobs was eerily convincing as the strict English teacher, no one would forget to do her prep. Peter Hendrickx was the mysterious music master.

This production was a real team effort with much to commend. The hockey match was delightful as the prefects Clair (Jane Whitaker) and Alice (Pam Hillier-Brook) inspired their team 'to play up and play the game'. The cliff rescue of Sybil and Monica by Daisy, in spite of all the nasty things they had done to her was effectively staged creating just the right amount of tension.

As with all good yarns it has a happy ending. The treasure is found and the gardener, a lovely cameo performance by Nigel Winter, turns out to be Daisy's long-lost Father. Jubilate!

ROBIN STRAPP