A sedate play this, comes across as a relatively easy gig for the trio of leading actors, namely Gwen Taylor, Don Warrington and Ian Porter. And it really does not matter if David Esbjornson (Director) agrees, as he presents us with a lovely thing.
This play succeeds in illustrating the political and social changes relating to Civil Rights in America, from the latter part of the nineteenth century onwards, while focusing on the ordinariness of two individuals.
The play is set in Georgia. The year is 1948 and the hard up and happy, Hoke Coleburn is hired by Boolie Werthan to chauffeur his mother, Daisy around. The independent, Daisy, is Jewish. An ex teacher, with a determined mind, she is a reluctant receiver of Hoke’s services at first. Hoke is patient and gracious nonetheless.
This couple are not dragged into any whirl of emotional turbulence themselves, but they do act as commentators of the bigger picture, in regard to racism against black people and antisemitism in the south of the US particularly, through the reminiscing and describing of times past in their own lives and their responses to real events happening as the play moves on through the 1950s and 1960s.
Porter’s character Boolie is a successful businessman, yet he is often seeking his mother’s approval. Boolie’s wife (who we never see) does not win the affection of Daisy, and lines that give reference to this strained relationship are amusing. The play spans up to 1973 so the two main characters live long lives, Taylor and Warrington do ‘old-old’ knowledgeably and skilfully well. The story, in a nutshell, is that from both sides of the race divide, the two have a mutual respect for one another and enjoy a wonderful companionship.
The production overall involves many talents. The set build and the props are great examples of the kind of design and function required to enable the showy appeal that it has. Photography and projected images in b/w are breathtaking.
This is intimate, sincere and non-fussy.
Reviewer attended the press showing of Driving Miss Daisy at The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry representing Remotegoat Stage
TOUR DATES AND VENUES FOR 2013 HERE