Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
Theatre Royal Bath
This new production of the compelling and uplifting tale brings together Sian Phillips and Derek Griffiths in the roles of Miss Daisy and Hoke; the excellent performances ensure that the chemistry is glorious and their unlikely friendship reigns supreme.
Daisy Werthan (Sian Phillips) is a wealthy Jewish widow who is deemed no longer able to drive by her son, Boolie (Teddy Kempner.) He hires Hoke (Derek Griffiths) an African American as her chauffeur. Set in 1948 Hoke weathers the sharp barbs and wounded pride of their early encounters to create a tale of humanity and friendship.
Sian Phillips is in fine form as the feisty widow allowing the rapport with Hoke to develop slowly, Derek Griffiths does not miss a trick in becoming the perfect foil. The divisions and developments in their respective society over the years remain salient and are never far away.
The episodic nature of the piece occasionally affects the fluidity of the rapid scenarios; there is excellent use of music throughout the play. This is most effective during some of the longer transitions when the production truly soars. The quality of the cast ensures that attention never wanders and the razor sharp comic timing of Derek Griffiths brings a classy lightness of touch. The subtext flows freely and the time lapse of 25 years is well capture across the course of the play.
Directed by Richard Beecham with a simple and effective design from Simon Kenny; this is a hugely enjoyable production which is well worth a visit.
*** – 3 Stars
Review By Petra Schofield
Driving Miss Daisy runs at Theatre Royal Bath until Saturday 9th September.