BWW Review: DRIVING MISS DAISY captivates at La Comedia Dinner Theatre
DRIVING MISS DAISY, by Alfred Uhry, is the Pulitzer Prize winning story of an unlikely, poignant friendship between elderly Daisy Werthan and her chauffeur, Hoke Coleburn. The action spans the years 1948-1973 as the audience follows Daisy and Hoke through changes in not only their lives but as society changes around them. Many will remember the 1989 film based on the play starring Jessica Tandy, a role for which she became the oldest person to win an Academy Award, and Morgan Freeman. The film itself also won the Academy Award in 1990 and both Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd, playing Daisy's son Boolie, were nominated for acting awards.
The beauty of this play is in the interplay between the characters and hopefully, an honest chemistry between the three actors. Director Chris Beiser achieved this beautifully with this production. Chris Kramer as Boolie does an excellent job as a son concerned about his mother and provides great support for the other actors.
Sue Combs played a very formidable Daisy, beginning at age 72 at the beginning of the play until she is 97 at the end. She was tough when she needed to be but didn't shy away from showing us Daisy's vulnerabilities either. Her relationship with Justin Lampkins' Hoke was very touching as their friendship persevered through the years. Their chemistry was very easy and natural. It was lovely to watch.
Lampkins' Hoke was tremendous as he passed through the years as well. You saw him age right before you with not only makeup but in his movements down to a little tremor in his hands in the last scene, as age has also taken its toll on Hoke. Perfect comic timing made for a fascinating portrayal of a man not only as a friend to Daisy but also struggling with his own place in society.
Scenic design by Ivory Mazur was timeless as it easily passed through the years with few changes. There, however, was a projection screen on stage to help place the setting but I found it to be unnecessary and distracting at times as it just seemed out of place for the time periods portrayed.
DRIVING MISS DAISY runs until September 23, 2018. Tickets are $61 - $75 depending on the performance you attend. Ticket prices include dinner or brunch. Call 937-746-4554, 1-800-677-9505 or online at www.lacomedia.com for tickets. Different from La Comedia's standard musical fare, this show is a very nice way to spend an evening.