Comedy by Denise Deegan. Arriving as the first ever scholarship pupil at the exclusive Grangewood School for Girls, Daisy Meredith is in for a spiffing time. Despite having to overcome the beastliness of a couple of absolute rotters and getting into some fearful scrapes, Daisy excels as much on the hockey pitch as in the classroom. Yet she is still bounding with enugh energy to search for the missing treasure that would save her beloved Grangewood's fortunes... all with the help of her best chum, the irrepressible madcap Trixie Martin. Bubbling over with schoolgirl high jinks and lashings of good old fashioned fun, it's quite simply a ripping night out.
Daisy Pulls it Off is an affectionate, keenly observed parody of life in a 1920s English boarding school for girls in a bygone era. Featuring the school song written by the anagrammatical Beryl Waddle-Browne (AKA Andrew Lloyd-Webber).
Original London West End Production 1983
Previewed 13 April 1983, Opened 18 April 1983, Closed 15 February 1986 at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre)
The original cast featured Alexandra Mathie as 'Daisy Meredith' with Helena Little as 'Trixie Martin', Adrienne Thomas as 'Monica Smithers', Kate Buffery as 'Clare Beaumont', Edita Brychta as 'Sybil Burlington', Charlotte West-Oram as 'Miss Gibson' and Roger Heathcott as 'Mr Scoblowski' with Rosalind Adler, Carol Ann Crawford, Lisa Anselini, Liz Buffery, Philip Guard, Sarah Harper, Ruth Kenley, Robin Miller, Sarah Mortimer, May Spence and Rodney Wood. Directed by David Gilmore with designs by Glenn Willoughby and lighting by Brian Harris.
1st West End Revival 2002
Previewed 18 April 2002, Opened 29 April 2002, Closed 8 June 2002 at the Lyric Theatre
Revival re-created by the original creative team - this production also included two members of the original 1983 cast - Charlotte West-Oram and Roger Heathcott.
The cast featured Hannah Yelland as 'Daisy Meredith' with Katherine Heath as 'Trixie Martin', Anna Francolini as 'Monica Smithers', Katherine Igoe as 'Clare Beaumont', Jane Mark as 'Sybil Burlington', Charlotte West-Oram as 'Miss Gibson' and Roger Heathcott as 'Mr Scoblowski' with Jeff Bellamy, Helen Brampton, Amber Edlin, Natasha Green, Maxine Gregory, Jenni Maitland, Gailie Morrison, Karen Pinkus, Emma Stansfield and Delma Walsh. Directed by David Gilmore with original designs by Glenn Willoughby, set re-created by Terry Parsons, costumes re-created by Bushy Westfallen and lighting by Brian Harris.
"If you missed this show 20 years ago - when it ran for yonks and was a huge hit - now is your chance. Daisy is back and she is still a winner... This fond-hearted pastiche of Angela Brazil's school novels of the Twenties is a classic yarn about Daisy Meredith, an elementary schoolgirl who wins a scholarship to the fearfully posh Grangewood School For Girls. She overcomes terrible odds and snobbery to rise to the top, win the school hockey match, and find some missing treasure. Okay, you can have enough of girls shrieking 'top hole!' and 'play up,' but David Gilmore's direction never allows you to become bored and the author Denise Deegan's brilliant ear for parody has you wreathed in smiles. There are lashings of Latin mottoes, stiff upper lippery and schoolgirl pashes. The cast is great too. Hannah Yelland is a plucky Daisy, Jane Mark's nasty Sybil is a brilliant bully, and girl of the match for me was Katherine Heath's madcap little stunner, Trixie. Full marks all round for a show that is as scrummy as smuggled cream buns in the dormy." The Daily Express
"The delightful thing about Denise Deegan's comedy is that any serious points she has to make come gift-wrapped in pastiche. She manages to send up the genre wickedly while remaining affectionate, and her play is littered with enjoyably awful gags, deliciously dated dialogue and rum bits of business (such as the fourth form's "inter-dormy" hot-water-bottle fight)... It is the sustained tone that makes this such a joy to watch. Deegan's tongue may be in her cheek, but her face never lets on, remaining poker-straight throughout. And Gilmore's vivacious production matches this, playing the text earnestly. His fine cast deliver lines like 'Buck up kiddie; play up and play the game' without even a twitch, and there are some delectable performances. Katherine Igoe is splendid as the head girl, 'a shining example of British girlhood', while Emma Stansfield as her hearty, hockey-playing deputy would evidently walk barefoot over hot coals for her. Hannah Yelland brings such radiant goodwill and vitality to Daisy that it is impossible not to warm to her, and loveliest of all is Katherine Heath as Trixie. There are times when Daisy is so relentlessly plucky that you want to whack her with a hockey stick, and the yarns go on a little after some of us would like lights out, but all in all, this is ripping stuff." The Financial Times
"Twenty years on, Daisy Pulls It Off is back, and the new production, at the Lyric Theatre, is pure joy. The beauty of Denise Deegan's send-up of old-style girls' school stories is that it captures their emotional substance as well as their outward trappings. There are no sniggers, no innuendoes; and if you can reanimate the juvenile in yourself, the wondrous story of life at Grangewood School in 1927 - hidden treasure, long-lost father, cliff-top rescue, knife-edge hockey match - is actually quite stirring... David Gilmore's production matches his material perfectly. There are delicious performances from Hannah Yelland as Daisy, Katherine Heath as her chum Trixie, Charlotte West-Oram as the headmistress and from everyone else, pupils and staff alike. And there's a perfect set, designed by Glenn Willoughby: you can virtually smell the furniture polish." The Sunday Telegraph
Daisy Pulls it Off in London at the Lyric Theatre previewed from 18 April 2002, opened on 29 April 2002 and closed on 8 June 2002 at the Lyric Theatre
London Revival 2010
Previewed 19 January 2010, Opened 21 January 2010, Closed 6 February 2010 at the Arts Theatre
Nadine Hanwell's revival of this classic comedy transfers to the Arts Theatre following successful seasons at the Baron's Court Theatre in West London in 2008 and 2009.
The cast featured Lucy Austin as 'Daisy Meredith' with Rebecca Haigh as 'Trixie Martin', Jennifer Page as 'Monica Smithers', Emma Scholes as 'Clare Beaumont', Fiona Domenica as 'Sybil Burlington', Maxine Scholfield as 'Miss Gibson' and Christopher Kouros as 'Mr Scoblowski' with Joanne Gale, Olivia Hunter, Lulu Miller, Kate Sandison and Robert Hartley Wainwright. Directed by Nadine Hanwell with designs by James Sheppard.
"Daisy sadly comes a cropper in this dismal revival of Denise Deegan's ripping yarn... In the right hands, Deegan's pitch-perfect spoof is still gloriously funny entertainment, which explains its previous form in the West End, including a three-year run. But the trick is to play it absolutely straight so that the tongue can't be seen poking out of the cheek. Nadine Hanwell's production offers a variety of conflicting playing styles, and although it may have burst out of its gymslip in the tiny Baron's Court theatre, here it is so lacking in energy that it is in urgent need of a dose of matron's cod liver oil... Some of the cast might well shine in other circumstances, but they are constrained by a pedestrian production that lacks basic stagecraft. Instead of offering irrepressible entertainment, it feels like two-and-a-half hours of extra prep." The Guardian
"Oh dear, there's little that's spiffing and bugger-all that's topping about Nadine Hanwell's drab revival, which transfers here from the Barons Court Theatre in West London. You can only assume that the cast of 12 sold this material more persuasively in a cramped Fringe setting. Here it plays like understudies night. The jolly-hockeysticks shenanigans are played so pallidly that they barely make it past the front row... Lucy Austin is adequate as Daisy, the plucky poor girl who wins a scholarship to Grangewood school where she finds herself fighting snobbery and hunting for treasure. Rebecca Haigh adds spirit as her best friend, Trixie. And the cast do a nice job of singing the school anthem, written by Beryl Waddle-Browne (aka Andrew Lloyd Webber). However,there's a flatness of tone here that's bewildering... With only a few chairs and a bit of furniture as props, the cast guide us through the story competently. But where's the fun?... It's not big enough to fill the stage. Only once - when Daisy says 'So many books! It's frightfully difficult to know where to look', while looking at a 'library' that consists of one small shelf - do the meagre resources turn into a positive." The Times
Daisy Pulls it Off in London at the Arts Theatre previewed from 19 January 2010, opened on 21 January 2010 and closed on 6 February 2010.
London Revival 2017
Previews 5 December 2017, Opens 8 December 2017, Closes 13 January 2018 at the Park Theatre
Directed by Paulette Randall - more details