Daisy Pulls it Off, Park Theatre, review:’ A spiffing evening’s entertainment, oozing with oodles of fun’

PUBLISHED: 16:51 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:51 13 December 2017

Daisy Pulls it Off at the Park Theatre

Daisy Pulls it Off at the Park Theatre

Archant

At times it was impossible to hear the dialogue as members of the audience were crying with laughter

It is 1927 and Grangewood School for Girls is having its open day.

The headteacher, revelling in the school tradition of “all girls together”, announces the fourth form’s offering: a play called “Daisy Pulls it Off” ... and it’s wizard!

Young Daisy (played with lashings of earnestness and goodness by Anna Shaffer) hopes to leave her state Elementary and join the gals at Grangewood.

Her dream comes true when her withered old Ma brings her the letter that will change her (and Grangewood’s) future for ever – she has won a scholarship.

On the train to school we meet the super snobby Sybil (the fabulous Shobna Gulati) and her enforcer chum Monica (playing with hilarious comic effect by the sensational Clare Perkins) who are worried about the downmarket contamination that will befall Grangewood with the arrival of an outsider.

Pauline McLynn plays the faithful and decent Trixie who soon develops a bit of a crush on Daisy. Grangewood is in financial trouble and the pair vow to find the lost treasure that will save the school and their chums.

As the narrative rips along, the dialogue is stuffed with references to the preoccupations and values of the times – Bolsheviks, money, class, the burden of Empire, sneaks, playing the game and Doing the Right Thing.

This sort of affectionate spoof had its origins in Michael Palin’s 1970’s Ripping Yarns and has become a regular genre on radio, stage and screen ever since. But few examples will have bettered Denise Deegan’s Daisy in producing so may brilliant lines and prompting so many guffaws.

In a production that makes a virtue of age-blind casting, an experienced ensemble some decades past their own schooldays, were clearly having a terrific time: occasionally the script seemed to be abandoned in favour of ad libs and spontaneous laughter. At times it was impossible to hear the dialogue as members of the audience were crying with laughter.

A spiffing evening’s entertainment, oozing with oodles of fun. A Christmas cracker.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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