Daisy Pulls It Off - performed November 1993

By Denise Deegan

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French

Director - Rosamund Pettett


(in order of appearance)

Daisy Meredith Amanda Elsey
Mother Jane Cousins
Monica Smithers Alison Brett
Clare Beaumont Sally - Ann Roberts
Sybil Burlington Debi Koval
Alice Fitzpatrick Petra Mills
Trixie Martin Chantelle Hawley
Miss Gibson Kerry King
Miss Granville Viv Wheatley
Mademoiselle Jenny Glayzer
Brenda Mathieson Elizabeth Wainwright
Winnie Irving Victoria Webb
Dora Johnson Suzanne Keeble
Mr Scoblowski Jason Davis
Mr Thompson Bill Chapman
School Pianist Patience Ling
Matron Kate Daines

Production Team

Sarah McCarthy, Jude Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Paul Spendley, Greg Garrad, Alan Laurie, John Baldwin, Sue Smith, Jenny Glayzer, Val Taylor, Gill Baxter, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.

The Play

Daisy Meredith, the new girl, is the first scholarship student to attend the Grangewood School for Girls. The privileged students are determined to make Daisy look bad in the eyes of the administration. The administration has its own problems, financial ones. Daisy wins over her chums and saves the school when she cracks a secret code, finds a treasure and saves the life of her chief nemesis all on the same night!


The Manifest Theatre Group has once again shown it is not afraid to tackle something a bit different. The latest production Daisy Pulls it Off, is somewhat unusual in that the case, as well as having acting roles, also partly narrates the unfolding story. Billed as a comedy, there are in fact few laughs in the two-act play being staged at the Manifest Theatre in Manningtree this week. Nonetheless, it makes for an entertaining evening, although the play, which goes on for well over two hours does drag a little at times.
The story is set in 1927 and revolves around Daisy Meredith an elementary schoolgirl who win a scholarship to an all-girls boarding school, and the class prejudice she encounters there. One could not help feeling that excelling as she does at every subject and sport, the all-round good egg Daisy would not been everyone’s favourite at whatever type of school she had attended. The condescending aspect of the script and the jolly hockey sticks did start to irritate as did the constant opening and shutting of doors. The mammoth leading role was filled by Amanda Elsey, a relative newcomer to the group, who gave an outstanding performance ably backed by Chantelle Hawley as her chum. But the eyes of the audience were constantly drawn towards snobby Sybil Burlington, played by Debi Koval, and her partner in crime Alison Brett. The facial expressions of these two were a delight to watch.
Until 15 years ago, the theatre was a school and, to set the scene in readiness for the play, the audience was greeted on arrival by “teachers” from the case. Programme sellers and other helpers were also wearing caps and gowns. The play by Denise Deegan is directed by Rosamund Pettett.

Lots of new faces at Manningtree in this engagingly quaint send-up of every Angela Brazil story that ever was. The unashamed parodying of selfless devotion to archaic principles in a minor public school for upper-crust “gels” in the 1920s is generally carried out with suitably "jolly hockey stick" enthusiasm, and no little style. Amanda Elsey, as the new scholarship entrant into Grangewood, had bold attack to underpin her whiter-than-white wholesomeness and British grit. Her bosom pal, Trixie Martin, is filled out by Chantelle Hawley with bouncing madcap glee and an affectionate loyalty that is curiously touching. Debi Koval’s supercilious Sybil Burlington, seemingly endowed with a bad smell under her snobbish nose, is thoroughly nasty, haughty and scheming with an effective later line in remorse and repentance. Her sidekick, Monica Smithers is the archetypal toady, imbued and lickspittle deference when it suits her, but not above sniggering at her own cronies when the occasion arises. Sally-Ann Roberts is eminently crush-worthy as Clare Beaumont – head girl to end all head girls – with her breeding and nobility of character positively radiating out to all and sundry. Petra Mills plays her faithful adherent Alice with an impenetrable Irish accent and the much smaller Victoria Webb creates a telling personality for Winnie with the proverbial two spits and a cough. Kerry King clearly enjoys her tongue-in-cheek statement of the almost cooing Principal, asserting her authority over “gels” and staff alike. Among the latter, Viv Wheatley’s weathered Miss Granville; Jenny Glayzer’s elegant Mademoiselle; Jason Davis’ amusingly accented Mr Scoblowski, and Jane Cousins; attractive doubling of Mother and Teacher all contribute to the classroom atmosphere of chalkdust and elasticated knickers. Bill Chapman struggles to contain and control his unlikely Mr Thompson in terms of his own amusement, but ingenious lighting and pupil-assisted changes of location make for a slightly uneven, but for the most part, Spiffingly scrummy romp
Jimmy James

Photo Shoot

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