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Folk and Blues
Daisy Pulls it Off
by Denise Deegan
The Mitre Theatre, Croydon
22nd to 24th October 2009
Directed by Di Jones
Daisy's class awarded 5 Stars.

Jubilate - the girls of Grangewood School returned with their tale of the scholarship pupil from an Elementary School making good with her honesty, pluck and derring- do.

 

Director Di Jones presented a stylised production with over-emphasised vowels and simple flat wood-painted props like the girls' suitcases, hockey sticks, desks and even two coffee mugs. The rescue scene benefited enormously from having a balcony in the theatre enabling a tall climbable 'cliff' to be built up to it - the first time in four Daisy reviews I have seen a real climb.

 

The cast were obviously having a wonderful time, reverting to schoolgirls - albeit in the 1920's rather than present day. In pigtails and an earnest expression Cat Longhurst's Daisy Meridith epitomised the fictional scholars she so admired, meeting the lively Trixie Martin on her first day as a new girl. Kelly Bennett created an earnest, staunch and faithful friend, with the pair thinking up practical jokes and forming the Dark Horse Society which led, eventually, to finding treasure.

 

More gung-ho attack came from Olivia Beckwith and Helen O'Gorman as Sport's Captain and head girl Clare Beaumont and her sidekick Alice. Good pairing and a belief in honour for the school, they treated their juniors justly. Counterbalancing this attitude, Julia Gibbs as the abysmal Sybil and Katy Davies as her toady, Monica, sought every way to undermine the elementary school girl. Their fiendish tricks were administered with glee - Julia shone as the spoilt, moneyed brat and Katy matched sycophantic movement with a suitably awful snigger.

 

As form captain Belinda Mathieson, Lorraine Price bounced and simpered delightfully - her wordless dislike of the tart oranges at a half time hockey match was a gem. The later, all-important match in which Daisy scored the winning goal was realistically created on stage. Pupils also at Grangewood were Liz Raishbrook as Dora, Carolyn Backway as Jean and Anna Frost as the troublesome Winnie Irving.

 

Staff were ruled by the fair but strict Miss Gibson - Julie Cumbo as the school's figurehead. Morven Rae's Miss Granville followed suit and Ian Brown with slightly cod Russian accent encouraged singing as Mr Scoblowski. Smaller parts were in good hands and the use of voice-overs for the 'thoughts' worked well.

 

Acting skills, particularly for the pupils, were first class - I never tire of this delightful tale.

 

Theo Spring     Croydon Advertiser     5 stars