Hilarious fun for all at Leamington theatre’s jolly show

Daisy Pulls It Off, Loft Theatre, Leamington. On until Saturday July 16. Box office 0844 4934938.

Thursday, 7th July 2011, 9:39 am

A THOROUGHLY jolly time will be had by all who go to see this wonderfully entertaining pastiche of the schoolgirls novels of Angela Brazil, if my experience was anything to go by.

Brimming to the full with bubbly enthusiasm, bright and bold acting and some hilarious use of people as props and for sound effects (I particuarly enjoyed the train journey and the headmistress’s ‘chair’), this play defies anyone to leave without a smile on their face.

Set at the Grangewood School for Girls in 1927 - a fact we are made very conscious of at the beginning when we are informed that “portable telephone devices were not yet invented in 1927” so would we “kindly turn them off” - the action focuses on elementary schoolgirl Daisy Meredith, who wins a scholarship to the terribly posh boarding school.

Although made to feel unwelcome by a certain few especially nasty girls, Daisy is cheerfully welcomed by others, which is what gets her through a tough time of being the new girl of a different social class.

Having spent much of my own schooldays at an all girls’ school and enjoyed reading Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers and St Clare’s series of books that portrayed boarding school as such ‘dashing’ fun, the play particularly appealed to me. But there were plenty of laughs for everyone in the artifice throughout - including many an aside to the audience, overdone accents, caricatured teachers and inescapable interaction with the audience.

Most enjoyable to see was the grinning young Hilda (Morinsola Duntoye), who rings a bell, blows a whistle and bangs a gong with such glee and gusto.

Every member of the all-female cast performed with great enthusiasm, but worth particular mentions are Rachel Cooper as Daisy, Katherine Crawshaw as Sybil and Helen Ashbourne as the headmistress.

Sundari Sankar