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REVIEW: Driving Miss Daisy at the Everyman Theatre

REVIEW: Driving Miss Daisy at the Everyman Theatre

'Beautifully portrayed by an excellent cast"

The 30th Anniversary edition of Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry is based on the true story of the author’s grandmother and her chauffeur, which earned great accolade in 1989 as an award winning film.

This is the heart-warming journey that two very different people undertake over a period of some 25 years in Atlanta, America during times of uncertainty and civil unrest.

Boolie Werthan, played brilliantly by Teddy Kempner is concerned about the safety of his 72 year old mother Daisy (Sian Phillips) taking to the road again after she crashes her car. He consequently hires an African American chauffeur Hoke Colburn (Derek Griffiths), in order for her to maintain her independence.  Six days later the rather stubborn Daisy reluctantly allows Hoke to drive her to the store. This forced working relationship gradually nurtures and becomes something special. 

Hoke thinks that Daisy is a wealthy Jewish lady, but she is most insistent that she came from a more humble background. Hoke has to endure prejudice in his daily life and Daisy slowly comes to understand the hardships he has had to endure. A bond is formed between them when Hoke has to confess that he is illiterate. Daisy utilises her background as a teacher and tries to help him - but as an equal. A special friendship develops which is to last for the rest of their lives, and in a touching scene Daisy has to finally admit that Hoke has become her greatest friend.

Derek Griffiths is excellent as Hoke with his warmth, humour and patience having such a positive effect on Daisy - this was a part he was meant to play! Sian Phillips is superb as Daisy and there is great on-stage chemistry between these two. Finally, you have to love good old Boolie, her only son who is a successful businessman - an amiable chap with his mother’s best interests at heart.

We thoroughly enjoyed this production. It is funny yet totally endearing while still touching on some sensitive issues of its day. With only three superb actors and a simple set you really get to know the characters as you follow them on their lifelong journey of discovery and friendship.

Driving Miss Daisy runs until Saturday 14 October at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham.

Explore Gloucestershire
10 October 2017

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