Daisy Pulls It Off: Macclesfield Amateur Dramatics Society

If you want to see a cast of actors having fun, go and see Daisy Pulls It Off at the Little Theatre in Macclesfield. From the moment the school girls of Grangewood burst into the foyer, chatting to the audience and trying to get served at the bar – all the while pursued by irritated schoolteachers – it’s evident that they’re up to their elbows in enjoyment.
And why wouldn’t they be? Daisy Pulls It Off, originally written by Denise Deegan, is a funny, affectionate parody of English boarding school novels, and was instantly recognisable to a former Enid Blyton addict like me. It has everything: midnight feasts, hockey matches, practical jokes, treasure hunts and a main character with plenty of pluck. (That word needs reviving.)
Although the plot is somewhat ridiculous, it’s never taken seriously. Characters utter asides to the audience mid-scene, providing an ironic commentary on the action in impeccable accents, and Daisy’s narration perfectly echoes the narrative voice of the play’s source material. Crucially though, the cast choose their moments to ham it up and generally let the script speak for itself.
Staging is minimal and effective, with the various areas of Grangewood School created from just one set – a wood panelled room hung with portraits, with a small platform at the back. This platform serves as a cliff top and a vantage point for a hockey game, while the introduction of a table full of books transforms the stage into a library. Props are used minimally too, for instance when the girls use their suitcases as seats on the train to school.
As charming as these nostalgic stories are, it’s easy to assume that they no longer have relevance. But I’d argue the opposite – plays like Daisy Pulls It Off have a clear message about the importance of equality, regardless of class or gender. Its protagonist not only excels at everything she does, but is clearly the equal of her four brothers and her wealthier classmates.

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