Beautifully understated and completely absorbing, Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy is a must-see.
Competent casting puts Don Warrington (Death In Paradise, Rising Damp) firmly in the driving seat as Hoke, the African-American chauffeur engaged by her son to drive the accident-prone, acerbic former school teacher Daisy Werthan.
Set in Georgia, USA between 1950 and 1972 the duo’s slowly developing relationship is set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and the Klu Klux Klan with John Lee Beatty’s simplistic set relying on Wendall K Harrington’s backdrop projections to add atmosphere and context.
Warrington convincingly abandons his naturally desperately deep tones for a gentle and at times squeaky voice as he develops the role of the long-suffering, wry helpmeet.
Gwen Taylor (Corrie’s Anne Foster, the eponymous Barbara, Rita Simcock in A Bit Of A Do and much more) is compelling as acid-tongued Daisy, refusing to accept that her independence is waning – and that she is in fact a wealthy widow.
As the wheels turn (or at least the revolve, chairs and bench do) and time moves on, the relationship subtly grows to an interdependence that neither may have anticipated.
Ian Porter (Book At Bedtime, the upcoming Nixon’s The One) is spot-on as long-suffering son Boolie Werthan who keeps the action from becoming claustrophobic and acting the foil for his mother’s cantankerousness.
Nicely paced, subtly played and tightly directed by award-winning David Esbjornson, this is a delightful uninterrupted 90 minutes.