REVIEW: Daisy Pulls it Off, Barn Theatre, Southwick

Sophie Lane as Daisy, front, with Naomi Horsfall,  Anna Quick, Liz Ryder-Weldon, Phoebe Williams-Hine and Becky Hodge
Sophie Lane as Daisy, front, with Naomi Horsfall, Anna Quick, Liz Ryder-Weldon, Phoebe Williams-Hine and Becky Hodge

DIRECTOR Diane Robinson was none too keen when asked to lead Wick Theatre Company’s production of Daisy Pulls it Off.

Having seen some ‘pretty dreadful’ renditions, she needed to be convinced it was a good choice for the Barn Theatre stage.

Luckily, the company’s enthusiasm rubbed off on her and packed audiences were treated to some ripping fun and games at the Grangewood School for Girls for last night’s opening night.

“I was completely wrong to be so sceptical,” admitted Diane. “It is a wonderfully joyous, well written and entertaining play and in the extremely capable hands of my wonderful cast, it is proving to be an excellent choice of play.”

The set was impressive, requiring two levels, and the scene changes were subtle.

We saw some great characters, both among ‘the girls’ and ‘the grown-ups’.

Sophie Lane was outstanding once again in the role of Daisy – a fine farewell performance as she leaves Wick to live and live and work in Mauritius.

Naomi Horsfall was just wonderful as her sidekick Trixie, really playing up to the 1927 posh girls’ school setting.

The girls’ train ride was particularly well done. Steam train sounds played as they bounced up and down on their suitcases, perfectly timed to be extremely convincing.

Stand out performances among the adults included Judith Berrill as Miss Gibson, the headmistress, and Dan Dryer as Russian teacher Mr Scoblowski.

He was one of a few who had accents to contend with. Others included Sarah Frost, who carried off a brilliant Irish accent as Alice, and Heather Jefferies as the French teacher.

Annabelle Heath played Daisy’s mum, although it must have brought back great memories of her time as a child, when she appeared in a speaking part in the original 1954 film, The Belles of St Trinian’s.

The theme tune from the film was even used in the play for the water bottle fight scene, which was a nice touch for those who know Annabelle’s history.

There was an awful lot going on throughout, with the second half incredibly fast paced, including a dramatic cliff rescue.

The ending played out a bit like an Agatha Christie story, with dramatic revelations coming thick and fast in the concluding scene.

The whole thing was a triumph and showed some great young talent alongside regular cast members.

The play runs until Saturday at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre, Southwick.

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