DRIVING MISS DAISY – Written by Alfred Uhry; Directed by Lorraine Scott. Produced by Vintage Theatre Company (1468 Dayton Street, Aurora) through July 16. Tickets available at 303-856-7830 or VintageTheatre.org.
Everyone who hangs around Vintage Theatre at all knows Deb Persoff, Board Member and Greeter Extraordinaire. A dream role for her is playing Daisy Werthan in this fine production. But, as fate would have it, Dame Deb got a little ill and had to step out of several performances, leaving everything in the very competent hands of her understudy, Mary Campbell. The show must go on, of course, and, thank goodness, Vintage had the foresight to cast an understudy. Ms. Campbell, previously seen at Firehouse, stepped into the complicated role with only three hours notice and brought the story of the friendship between the elderly widow Daisy and her unwanted driver, Hoke Colburn, to glorious life. Ms. Campbell embraced the belligerent feisty woman who rages against being designated as old and incompetent. She adopts whimsy, humor and a hurt dignity to try to regain her independence. To no avail. Her son is adamant in caring for his mother by supplying a driver for her after she destroys her newest car.
Hoke, as played by Chris Davenport, is patient, determined and the soul of respect for his elderly passenger. His personal quiet dignity wins not only Miss Daisy but also the audience. His experience and basic humanity also provides enlightenment to both Miss Daisy and the audience. In the hands of Mr. Davenport, Hoke is fun to watch as he melds into Daisy’s everyday life. The affectionate understanding and friendship between these two who pass through life together is sweet to behold.
Bill Kahn plays the third role of Boolie, Miss Daisy’s caring but frustrated son. It’s a role that fits him like a glove. He too ages gracefully, alongside Hoke and Miss Daisy, never losing his love and determination to care for his mother. As an ensemble, these three are golden.
Playing in the smaller of the two theatres at Vintage, the performances have proved so popular, the show has been extended to July 16th. Tickets are going to be hard to get now that Ms. Persoff has been able to return to the show. But try. It’s worth the effort.
A WOW factor of 8.5!!