Driving Miss Daisy is a highly regarded play from prolific playwright Alfred Uhry. The play spawned several praised performances and tours, in addition to an Academy Award winning film starring Morgan Freeman. Due to a recent demand for tickets at BFI Southbank, Omniverse Vision are releasing the most recent incarnation of the stage play in cinemas for one night only, May 25th.
Daisy Werthan (Dame Angela Lansbury), a woman in her winter years, finds herself unable to drive after she wrecks her car. Her son, Boolie (Boyd Gaines), hires her a black chauffeur known as Hoke Coburn (James Earl Jones). Daisy initially resists Hoke and his attempts to help her, before gradually warming to him over time.
The narrative is hard to do justice with a synopsis, its undoubtedly the subtleties and characterisation of Alfred Uhry's writing that make Driving Miss Daisy an engaging performance.
Driving Miss Daisy isn't a play about a woman and her chauffeur, its about cultural differences and prejudice, or more simply, how we are all the same regardless of the different ways of life we originate from. Uhry explores the cultural stereotypes affecting black people and the Jewish in the 1940s, effectively dispelling them through the friendship of Hoke and Daisy.
The play is quite a humorous one, but the laughs are conveyed in a very genuine manner. Its not that the dialogue is funny, so much as the characters are in their own particularities. That being said, Driving Miss Daisy is also incredibly heartfelt, emotional and reflective in its overall tones, particularly in its climaxing moments.
What makes this particular iteration of Driving Miss Daisy must-see are its performances. James Earl Jones is an absolute show-stealer. He's able to display so much personality in his speech, motions and physicality. This makes the character of Hoke so much more endearing. Angela Lansbury and Boyd Gaines are also magnificent as mother and son.
Driving Miss Daisy is a fantastic show - the script itself is short but sweet, the cast are fantastic, the design elements are minimalist but effective. As an experience it was; entertaining, emotive and incredibly engrossing. Admittedly, watching a stage play at the cinema isn't for everyone, but if you're at all intrigued by this limited release of Driving Miss Daisy, it won't disappoint.
Review by: Sam Thorne
Review Date: 25th May 2014
Driving Miss Daisy: The Play
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