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Daisy Pulls It Off – St Joseph’s Players Leigh

St Joseph’s Players open the new season with Denise Deegan’s Daisy Pulls It Off and what a great choice. The opening scene set the pace for this piece and the costumes made a visible impact and really gave the impression of a public school, complete with pinafore dresses, sashes, black tights and, for some, the obligatory pigtails. The singing of the hymns was done so well, complete with a soundtrack of authentic piano playing.
As Daisy Meredith arrives at Grangewood School for Girls from an elementary school, she is immediately snubbed by some of the public-school girls, especially Sybil Burlington. However, she perseveres and reaps the rewards as she overcomes false accusations, saves the lives of her enemies and in a subtle twist, ends up being reunited with her long-lost father.
In the title role of Daisy, Margaret Hall is consistent throughout and never misses a beat. Word perfect, narrating throughout and showing many emotions as she confidently portrays this character.
Daisy pals up with Trixi Martin and they make a mischievous couple as they seek to find the clues to release the Beaumont family’s hidden treasure. Kittie Dixon plays this role so well. She is lively, energetic and squeezes every nuance out of the role.
A second mischievous couple is formed by pupils Sybil Burlington and Monica Smithers. Clare Nash is excellent as Sybil. Suitably snobbish, she goes all-out to ridicule and undermine Daisy. Clare gives great expression, both facially and physically and always characterises with ease, making short work of it.
Monica is in the safe hands of Barbara Mayers who, with style adds a touch of comedy to the character and it works. Funny is stance, expression, and words, this was a pleasure to watch and was never over played, especially in the rescue scene.
As in all schools, there are those who see themselves as superior. At Grangewood, Clare Beaumont and Alice Fitzpatrick are such pupils. Donna Wood plays Clare with an entitled air, reminding us that she is a relative of the owners of the school building, and uses this to make her mark. Alice is played perfectly by Christy Coleman who sports a credible Irish accent.
Katherine Roberts presents a formidable school principal and sustains a stoical stance throughout, much to the dismay of the pupils who quite rightly are in fear of her every move. A part well played.
Also wanting to find the treasure is teacher, Mr Scoblowski. Ciaran Travis is every bit the strict school master, complete with Russian accent. Imogen Roberts as teacher Miss Granville was almost as formidable as the school principal as she confidently led the class. Crystal clear delivery ensuring we heard every word.
The supporting cast, Lissa Kendrick, Annabelle Whitter and Colin Magenty added to the success of this production.
A standout moment for me was the execution of the rescue from the cliff edge. Daisy leads the rescue and adds another notch in proving her innocence and cementing her right to be at the school. This was well directed and well executed by the cast and deserved the applause that followed. The hockey match was also a highlight.
Director Pauline Nevell and producer Gabrielle Fitzsimons have put together a cracking cast and it can be safely said that St Joseph’s definitely pulled it off!
Paul Cohen