Review: Driving Miss Daisy
This charming production of Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy has broken records on Broadway and the West End, brought to the stage by award winning director David Esbjornson, writes Rob Edwards
A poignant tale, set in a pivotal period of American history, Driving Miss Daisy tells the story of a prickly, elderly southern matriarch, Daisy Werthan (Gwen Taylor) and her kind-hearted chauffeur, Hoke Colburn (Don Warrington).
When Daisy’s son Boolie Werthan (Ian Porter) – concerned for his aging mother’s roadworthiness – hires a coloured driver, the fiercely independent passenger is initially reluctant.
As the wheels turn and the decades roll by against a backdrop of prejudice, inequality and civil unrest, the pair slowly transcend their differences and ultimately grow to rely on each other.
Gwen Taylor is most recently known for playing Anne Foster on screen in Coronation Street while on stage she joined the highly successful Calendar Girls tour. Her film work includes Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
Don Warrington is best known for playing Philip Smith in the hit TV series Rising Damp and was most currently seen on screen in Morse. His other television credits include Red Dwarf, Doctor Who and Casualty.
Ian Porter is currently playing Slim in Of Mice and Men at the Watermill Theatre. His screen credits include Saving Private Ryan, The Bourne Ultimatum and Mr Bean’s Holiday.
The set is basic and unpretentious, using the large backdrop to project beautiful montages of urban settings and archive footage of the civil rights movement.
The same can be said for the clever use of audio, spanning from the subtle details of car doors slamming and stammering ignition to moving archive speeches by Martin Luther King.
While the stage arrangement meant Warrington often had his back to the audience, making his tremendously convincing Georgia drawl harder to follow, this short production maintains its momentum and power.
Funny, irresistibly heart-warming and with a wonderful much-loved cast, Driving Miss Daisy at the Yvonne Arnaud and Richmond Theatre is a must see.
Driving Miss Daisy is showing at Richmond Theatre Oct 22 to 27.
Richmond Theatre, atgtickets.com, 0844 871 7651