Written by Alfred Uhry, this 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning play, and the 1989 film that was based on it, have won many fans. This production, under the direction of Bob Paisley, who also plays Miss Daisy Werthan's son, Boolie, is sure to gain a great many fans of its own. Marilyn Lynch and Harvey Williams, as the feisty 72 year old Miss Daisy and Hoke Colburn could not be a better pair for the roles. Casting is one of the most important parts of a director's job and Paisley certainly got that right, which makes the rest of the job a lot easier.
The play covers the years 1948 to 1973, at the beginning of which time Boolie Werthan is concerned about his ageing, but fiercely independent, mother's driving having had a serious and costly accident almost immediately after getting a brand new car. He hires Hoke Colburn to be her driver, much to her annoyance and, even though Hoke is there in the house every day, she refuses to go out in the car. What irritates her more is that, as Hoke is being employed by her son, it is beyond her ability to fire him.
Eventually she begrudgingly begins using him as a driver and, over the next 25 years, They learn more about one another, recognise their similarities and differences, and become friends, all set against a background of growing social unrest and change.
Marilyn Lynch and Harvey Williams work together as closely as the two sides of a coin, both actors absorbed completely into their characters. Williams captures the gentle and patient Hoke perfectly, giving him a sense of fair play and good humour that enables him to deal with the difficult Miss Daisy and the perseverance to slowly win her over. Lynch gives us a determined Southern lady, used to having her own way and not at all happy with change. Lynch's Daisy is a graceful lady, proud and refined. There seems a huge gap between the two but, with such wonderful performances, the closing of that gap is easy to believe. It is remarkable to watch the two as they age, with nothing much but posture changes and a walking stick to assist that process.
Not to be forgotten is that smaller, but important role of Boolie, and Paisley ensures that this is a well rounded character too, showing some bemusement and understanding as Boolie observes the relationship between Hoke and his mother two mellowing and developing.
If you thought the film was good, wait until you see this magical production. It will send you out with a warm glow and a touch of optimism for the future of humanity.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.
Venue: Higher Ground, 9-15 Light Square, Adelaide
Season: To 18th March 2012
Tickets: $21 to $24
Bookings: FringeTix 1300-FRINGE (1300 374 643), FringeTix outlets, or online