Charing Cross Theatre, London – until 20 June 2018
Guest reviewer: Shaun Dicks
With the name of Guildford School of Acting comes a vast and storied reputation. When you come across a show with GSA’s name on it, you go in with certain expectations. Their current venture is Daisy Pulls It Off, presented by its Actor Muso students at the Charing Cross Theatre.
The show presents a story within a story based in an early 20th-century private girls’ school where they admit their first elementary school scholarship student, Daisy. It follows her trials as she tries to integrate into a world that is far removed from her own.
The musicianship displayed on the stage is truly extraordinary, the combination of various instruments and the orchestrations by Niall Bailey are brilliant. Another top aspect of the show is the students’ faces. Their facial acting is so on the mark, standouts being Katy Ellis as Trixie Martin and Gemma Evans as Monica Smithers, they stole the show for me. I also want to give a shout out to the staging/movement by Phyllida Crowley-Smith, it is all so stylised and of an era that is so pitch-perfect for the piece.
The material that the students are given is nothing special but decent enough – the best moment being the Hockey Final sequence – some bits felt well-rehearsed, whereas others felt under-rehearsed. There were stumbles with lines and a few technical issues. One thing that stayed with me as I watched the show was that it’s nice light entertainment, but it wasn’t anything new or special. It didn’t make me feel anything. It wasn’t quite the quality of top shows in the West End that this show is neighbouring during its run.
The show isn’t bad, but it also isn’t great, just somewhere in the middle. There are some wonderful moments to be proud of, but the show is inconsistent. It’s worth a watch if you want a little light entertainment on a summer’s evening but I wouldn’t say it should be your first choice.