Driving Miss Daisy – An Atlanta Theater Fans Review

Jill Jane Clements and Rob Cleveland. Photo by Chris Bartelski

Jill Jane Clements and Rob Cleveland. Photo by Chris Bartelski

Sometimes the simplest statements can speak volumes, and Aurora Theatre’s production of Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy is such an example. This three person play with a basic set, consisting of a few chairs and desk, packs a powerful punch, leaving a teary-eyed audience uplifted.

Under the fine direction of Justin Anderson, Driving Miss Daisy, cruises into the hearts of the audience with ease. Still poignant and still touching, the play follows the relationship of the aging Daisy Werthan and her African-American driver Hoke Colburn. Spanning a few decades, the plays touches on the changing social dynamics of race and opportunity that swept over society. Through it all, the contentious relationship of the two blossoms into a close friendship.

As Daisy Jill Jane Clements is at her best. A master of her craft, she portrays the spirited and feisty character with such subtle mannerisms and quickly endears herself to the audience. Rob Cleveland’s Hoke is spot on. His calm demeanor and unassuming attitude provide a nice balance to Daisy’s acerbic quips. Even if you know what is coming, the final scene between the two will move you as it paints a portrait of the depth of the chracters’ relationship.

Jill Jane Clements and Jared Simon. Photo by Chris Bartelski

Jill Jane Clements and Jared Simon. Photo by Chris Bartelski

Jared Simon gives a strong performance as Boolie, Daisy’s Son. With leads as strong as this show possesses, this character could easily be overshadowed. However, Simon holds his own, giving a subtle performance that endears him to the audience and makes the character memorable.

Britt Hultgren Ramroop’s set works well and allows the talented cast to prevail without distraction. The only issue, a minor one at that, is that the smartly designed projections can be a bit hard to see if you are sitting on the sides close to the screen. But, the story is so strong and powerful that, if missed, no one would feel cheated with a partial view of it.

One of the finest displays of talent you will see on an Atlanta stage, Driving Miss Daisy runs through October 19, 2014 at the Studio Theatre at Aurora Theatre. For tickets and more information, please visit the theater’s website. The show is around an hour and half without an intermission. On September 28 and afterwards, Geoffrey Williams will play the role of Hoke.

– Kenny Norton

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