Aging Gracefully 

“Driving Miss Daisy” is worth the trip.

click to enlarge art41_theater_miss_daisy_200.jpg

It may be a bit of a road trip to Hanover Tavern to see the Barksdale Theatre production of “Driving Miss Daisy,” but that's appropriate. This tale of a growing friendship between an older woman and her driver is a charming trip through the years.

The plot is exactly what you'd expect, even if you hadn't seen the 1989 film with Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Boolie Werthan (Garet Chester) hires Hoke Colburn (Jim Bynum) as a driver for his aging mother, Daisy (Joy Williams). Hoke and Daisy begin a bumpy ride to friendship while they cross speed bumps of stereotypes and racism.

The performances carry this show: All three cast members coast gracefully through their roles. Chester is a credible Boolie, spicing his loving yet practical character with humor. Director Joe Pabst does an excellent job using Williams' gift for the melodramatic as the feisty younger Daisy while toning her down as Daisy ages. Williams is particularly convincing in the later scenes in which Daisy descends into dementia. Bynum's Hoke is warm and practical, part teacher and part servant to Daisy.

Williams and Bynum work very well together, especially at the end of the show when Hoke and Daisy's relationship graduates from that of employer and employee to friends. The two are so in-character at the end of the show that even a scenic mishap failed to cause a break in either's character.  S

“Driving Miss Daisy” runs through Oct. 26 at the Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern. Tickets are $35-$38. Call 282-2620 or visit www.barksdalerichmond.org.





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