Arts Etc: Golly Gosh, It's Time for the Revival of the Girls' Boarding School Caper ; Nearly 20 Years on, `Daisy Pulls It Off' Returns to the London Stage. but Will the `Bliss' Generation Get the Joke, Asks Claudia Pritchard
Pritchard, Claudia, The Independent (London, England)
A really rather ripping old girls reunion gets under way this week. Nineteen years after they first took London by storm, the girls of Grangewood School don their gymslips once more as Denise Deegan's comedy Daisy Pulls it Off returns to the West End.
Daisy, the product of an initiative to encourage women's writing, was inspired by the hearty boarding school adventures of Angela Brazil and Eleanor Brent-Dyer under titles such as The Jolliest Term on Record, A Fourth Form Friendship and Joan's Best Chum. Its innocent, eager characters and their dormitory conspiracies made audiences roll with laughter in 1983 when Andrew Lloyd Webber - with Cats already up and running, but Starlight Express and Phantom of the Opera still to come - imported the show into London after seeing it at the modest, campus-based, 450-seater Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.
The nattily-staged, small-scale and above all, youthful comedy made the giant leap with the help of local backers, including the "Q" of B&Q, David Quayle. Its overnight success in the West End was helped by the publicity surrounding its lavish first night party in fashionable Dolphin Square at which the producer introduced the next Mrs Lloyd Webber, Sarah Brightman. Off to a roaring start, it ran for three years and toured for two.
The (then) artistic director of the Nuffield and director of both the original Daisy and this revival is David Gilmore, whose five- year stint at the Nuffield encouraged new faces, audiences and writing alike.
"Denise Deegan did a brilliant job," he says. "She wrote the play that none of the schoolgirl novelists wrote. We believe every word these girls say, despite its wonderfully heightened style."
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Arts Etc: Golly Gosh, It's Time for the Revival of the Girls' Boarding School Caper ; Nearly 20 Years on, `Daisy Pulls It Off' Returns to the London Stage. but Will the `Bliss' Generation Get the Joke, Asks Claudia Pritchard. Contributors: Pritchard, Claudia - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: April 28, 2002. Page number: 8. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.