DRIVING MISS DAISY Review

Links to all reviews can be found using the REVIEWS link at the top of the page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my Facebook fan page. You can also receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

DRIVING MISS DAISY presented by The Carnegie through Nov. 16. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Sunday performance.

You had me at Dale Hodges as Miss Daisy.

When new seasons are announced in the spring, there are always a few productions that immediately fall into the “must see” category. As expected, seeing this favorite local actress in the iconic role of Daisy Wertham, does not disappoint. Also giving strong performances are Reggie Willis as Hoke and Randy Lee Bailey as Boolie.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Randy Lee Bailey as Boolie. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Randy Lee Bailey as Boolie. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

“Keep it simple” seems to be the mantra for the show and it works well. The minimum set (designed by Kristen Robinson) works well for the various locations of the show. The passage of time is acknowledged by the bits of news and music (excellent sound design by Jason Sebastian) that the ever-present radio plays between scenes. Time also passes visually, as son Boolie swaps out the radio with a more modern one, several times over the course of the show.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Wig Master Daniel Townsend and assistant Michael Seagraves do great work with Daisy’s various styles. Daryl Harris did the costume and makeup design. His costumes worked really well for all the characters and appropriate to the time period. The only costume that did not work for me was the shiny gold dress that Daisy wore to the Martin Luther King Jr. event. It seemed out of character, especially with her ongoing concern that others would think she was putting on airs.

Director Mark Lutwak does an excellent job of blocking the show and bringing emotionally-true and believable performances from all three actors. Reggie Willis has great comic timing as Hoke and his friendship with his employer begins and grows naturally. It has been several years since I’ve seen a production of DRIVING MISS DAISY, and the first where I have been a contemporary of Boolie. Bailey had the right balance of love, concern and exasperation that hit home. The final few scenes of the play packed the perfect payoff.

Randy Lee Bailey as Boolie & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Randy Lee Bailey as Boolie & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Hodges and Willis do a good job of physically aging their characters as the years passed. There was one cross, during a blackout, by Hodges that seemed a bit more spry than it should have been.

Simply staged and superbly acted, The Carnegie’s DRIVING MISS DAISY is a moving 90 minutes, full of heart and laughter.

My rating: 4.75 out of 5

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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