Thursday 21st July to Saturday 23rd July and Tuesday 26th July to Saturday 30th July
Directed by Mark Wakeman
The year is 1927 and the historical institution that is the mighty Grangewood School for Girls is rocked by what is to their pupils, a shocking and horrifying event... the arrival of the first ever scholarship pupil! Enter said pupil, our heroine, the resourceful would-be adventuress Daisy Meredith!
Can she and new best friend Trixie outwit the diabolical machinations of the school's arch-snob and general meanie Sybil Burlington?
Can she discover the secret of the mysterious Russian music teacher?
Can she find the long-lost secret treasure of Grangewood and save the school?
And, most important of all, can she help the school to victory in the all-important Hockey Cup Final when she's only learned to play by reading a book?
Secret Passages! Midnight Feasts! Hot Water Bottle Fights! Lashings of Tuck! Join Daisy and her friends in the award-winning comedy which proves that sometimes school days really can be the best time of your life!
Daisy Pulls it Off was first performed at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton in 1983 and went on to the West End. It ran for 1,180 performances and then toured for two years and won the 1983 Olivier Award for best comedy.
Set in 1927, the plays follows the story of Daisy Meredith who wins a scholarship to the exclusive Grangewood School for Young Ladies. A gifted student, she excels at everything, including hockey. Using her talents to help overcome the snobbishness of her classmates, Daisy makes friends with Trixie Martin. Together they search for missing treasure, overcome false accusations, save the life of Daisy's nemesis and discover the identity of the mysterious stranger seen around the grounds.
This play was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Daisy Meredith||Beth Evans|
|Trixie Martin||Tasmin Halford|
|Sybil Burlington||Fern Bicheno|
|Monica Smithers||Rosie Carter|
|Clare Beaumont||Alice Corrigan|
|Alice Fitzpatrick||Jo Gardner|
|Belinda Mathieson||Sian Green|
|Miss Gibson||Sharon Morris|
|Mr. Scoblowski||Jaspar Utley|
|Mr Thompson||Peter Woodward|
|Assistant Director||Claire Lyne|
|Stage Managers||Callum West |
|Lighting Design||Thomas Hall|
|Lighting Operation||Robin Hall|
|Sound Operation||Paul Millington|
|Set Design||David Penrose|
|Programme Editor||Roger Wallsgrove|
Greetings and welcome to the Bench Theatre's production of 'Daisy Pulls it Off'. I don't have a great mass of artistic guff to fob you off with here as to how I have always wanted to do this play as it resonated with my artistic nature or any such verbal pot pourri, the reason I am doing this play is one thing and one thing alone... women!
Until recently the Bench has been very lucky to have a good mix of age range and sexes (at least one of each!) to enable us to tackle any play that we thought we might have a go at, but the pendulum has swung a little and now we have more female members then male and quite simply we weren't giving them the right opportunities. Too often I've been to auditions and for the men it's not so much been a case of will I get cast, as what part will I get! While an equal number of women fight it out for the one or two female roles on offer. Recently we were pitched a play we just didn't have enough men to perform and yet we would still only be able to get two or three of the ladies involved. That just didn't seem right. So I set about trying to find a play that had more women than men and which could give them something fun to do.
My own area of interest is comedy, as anyone who knows me understands, so it had to be something light-hearted and fun too and a conversation with an actress in another company led me to Denise Deegan's romp through 1920's boarding school adventures.
It was ideal, a fast-paced romp for the summer slot which would enable me to offer roles to most of our female membership (although as it stands, we are still welcoming two fantastic first-time performers and I could have cast it twice over with the interest that we received in it) as well as some fun cameos for the gents. I hope that you enjoy it.
I would like to say a thank you to my wonderful cast and crew for giving up their free time and putting so much hard work into making the show what it is.
Also thank you for supporting local theatre, without you making the effort to come and see us we would simply cease to exist and unless you want crowds of amateur actors convening in shop doorways after dark, accosting you with snatches of Hamlet while you try and buy your leeks please keep coming and bring all your friends!
Jolly hockey sticks, jolly dee, jolly good show! Or to put it another way, as one Latin-speaking pupil at Grangewood School for Girls repeatedly does, 'jubilate!'. Yes, rejoice in a Bench Theatre production that rattles along, portrays mainly farcical characters in broad brush-strokes and bubbles with inventiveness under the typically fun-loving direction of Mark Wakeman. His conjuring of an instant library on an essentially bare stage is one pocket masterpiece.
In Denise Deegan's play, Daisy Meredith is the first pupil from an elementary (or state) school to win a scholarship to Grangewood. Bouncing with bonhomie towards everyone, she is shocked by the sheer venom of one snob in particular.
Fern Bicheno has as much fun with that girlish superbitch role as Tasmin Halford does with that of Daisy's hyperactive best friend - the one who alternates between exclaiming 'Jubilate!' and 'Oh Jemima!'. The title role is a first for Beth Evans, and she throws herself eagerly and effectively into the search for lost treasure, hockey heroics and daring cliff rescue. Among many other delights are Alice Corrigan natural comic authority as a good-hearted head girl, Jaspar Utley's enigmatic Russian, and real-life headteacher Julie Wood's wittily-observed portrayal of a second-year pupil.
Yes, it really is that sort of jolly good show. Topping, in fact. Until next Saturday.
The News, 22nd July 2011
Lashings of fun abounded in this irreverent parody of wholesome adventure stories about life in a 1920s girls' English boarding school. Poor Daisy Meredith faces snobbish prejudice from her jealous schoolgirl rivals at private Grangewood School; excelling on the hockey-pitch and in the classroom, she still has boundless energy to search (assisted by best chum Trixie) for the missing treasure that would save the fortunes of her beloved school.
Mark Wakeman's direction provided some great comedic gems (like the train journey, picture gallery and library) and ensured that all characters were hilariously overt, always with tongue firmly in cheek and with a cracking pace!
Beth Evans made a charismatic heroine with Tasmin Halford shining with exuberance as madcap Trixie, and Rosie Carter (Monica) brought toadying to a whole new level as she fawned over the deliciously snobbish Sybil (Fern Bicheno).
This was a thoroughly enjoyable fast-paced romp and jolly jape!