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Driving Miss Daisy
20th November 2017 - 25th November 2017
By Alfred Uhry
Presented by Theatre Royal Bath
Starring Dame Siân Phillips and Derek Griffiths
When elderly widow Daisy Werthan crashes her car one day in 1948, her son hires her a chauffeur, an African-American named Hoke Colburn. Daisy and Hoke’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but as times change across a 25 year backdrop of prejudice, inequality and civil unrest, a profound and life-altering friendship blossoms in this acclaimed comedy drama.
From its landmark off-Broadway production in 1987 to the remarkable success of the 1989 film version, which was the winner of four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Driving Miss Daisy has touched the hearts of millions worldwide.
From her multi award-wining performance in I, Claudius to the epic film Dune, from a Tony nominated performance of Marlene on Broadway to Cabaret in the West End, Dame Siân Phillips has enjoyed a dazzling career which spans more than seven decades.
RSC actor and legendary children’s show presenter, Derek Griffiths’ numerous West End credits include the original production of Beauty and the Beast in which he originated the role of Lumière and the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Ticket price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
★★★★ “Sian Phillips and Derek Griffiths give virtuosic performances. Teddy Kemener…excellent” Sunday Express
★★★★ “A sublime production…profoundly enhanced by Ms Philips’s luminous presence” Daily Express
★★★★ “Daisy’s road trip is a real delight” Bristol Post
“A witty play for today that tackles big issues.” Swindon Advertiser
★★★★ “Derek Griffiths’ performance as the noble, resilient Hoke that is truly outstanding. He is splendid.” StageTalk Magazine
“Sian Phillips is a wickedly witty Miss Daisy.. another unforgettable performance by this astonishing actress” The Fine Times Recorder
★★★★ “A play that has stood the test of time…A deeply moving show.” LondonTheatre1
30 years on from when it was written and became a smash hit Oscar-winning film starring Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy and Dan Aykroyd and many others, Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy returns to the stage, this time starring a cast of three - Dame Siân Phillips, Derek Griffiths and Teddy Kempner having previously been in Malvern in 2012 when it starred Gwen Taylor, Don Warrington and Ian Porter.
The play is set in Atlanta, Georgia during the period 1948 to 1973 where Daisy, already in her 70’s, has written off her car and is deemed, by her son Bookie, to be ready to have a chauffeur. The chosen candidate is Hoke and the relationship gets off unsurprisingly to a rocky start on a number of levels due to the fact that she doesn’t want him in her house and he is black, so not to be trusted in her home. "He’s stealing from me! I don’t make empty accusations. I have proof!", she declares when a tin of salmon goes missing. Slowly but surely, the fence between them is broken down, partly because of his gentle, tolerant and unassuming nature but also because Daisy, as a Jew, finds herself in a similarly minority situation, especially when her beloved synagogue is bombed. For his part when needing a toilet on a trip to her relatives in Mobile, Hoke states that a “coloured cain’ use the toilet at no Standard Oil" – a horribly realistic and damning illustration of American apartheid at the time.
The second act moves the story on through the decades with both chauffered and chauffer looking increasingly frail on the simple set which had a chair, table and desk and not much else. Except, of course, for a steering wheel behind which the driving and some revealing conversations take place.
Throughout the play, there is a thread of humour which gives rise to numerous moments of laughter whilst all the time you are kept aware of the predicament in which the characters find themselves in what was at the time a rapidly changing world and one not necessarily for the better. The actors’ portrayal of their characters is both convincing and sympathetic, ensuring the audience remains on their side throughout the final years of their lives in what is a beautifully performed adaptation of the classic play of different worlds colliding.
Wonderful performance, worth every penny of the ticket price.
All three performers where brilliant as well as the stage production.