By Denise Deegan
Directed by Ian Dickens
Company: Ian Dickens Productions
Venue: Connaught Theatre
Date: Wednesday 11th June 2008
That Daisy’s quite a gel. She’s been pulling it off for over twenty-five years now, and she’s still only in the upper fourth. And still entertaining us for a couple of hours as well. We remembered most of the plot, but I had forgotten the cliff rescue and some of the minor details – ‘hairy star’, etc. The set had plenty of doors that swung out to create the different rooms, and that seemed to go fairly smoothly.
This was good fun, and a pleasant change after a challenging Taming of the Shrew in Stratford. The headmistress was played by Kim Hartman, Trixie was a tall blond, Daisy herself had a noticeable tan which made her look older than expected, and for some strange reason her father had a European accent despite being English. Memory loss will only explain so much. Regardless, the positive attitudes – “play up and play the game” – the humour and the story kept us involved from beginning to end. I particularly liked the performances of Jane Dowden as Claire Beaumont, head girl and captain of the hockey first XI, and Nicola Weeks as Alice Fitzpatrick, her deputy. Their noble attitudes and their fondness for each other (teetering on the brink of lesbianism) were all very enjoyable, especially during the scene where they hear Daisy playing the piano so beautifully. The hockey games brought back memories, especially the first one which led to so many injuries. The classic line “Matron will never let her play the second half with a broken ankle” got the best laugh of the early scenes.
It’s good to see this being revived, and to see that it hasn’t lost its charm.
© 2008 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me