The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

08/05/2013 - 19/05/2013

Production Details

Do not miss this theatrical event !!

Two of New Zealand’s most iconic actors, George Henare and Annie Whittle join forces in the Tadpole Productions presentation of the classic Pulitzer prize winning play Driving Miss Daisy, to be performed at the historic PumpHouse Theatre on the shores of Lake Pupuke in Takapuna this May. The Auckland show will also feature Phil Peleton as Miss Daisy’s son, and will be directed by well-known theatre and TV personality Louise Wallace.

Henare and Whittle follow legendary pairings who have showcased Alfred Uhry’s timeless play on stage and screen, such as Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman, Vanesssa Redgrave and James Earl Jones and, most recently, Angela Lansbury with James Earl Jones.

Tadpole Productions was formed last year to bring quality theatre to the northern region of Auckland.  2012 saw two acclaimed plays staged by the group: The Lion in Winter and Last of the Red Hot Lovers. Auckland audiences are in for a treat with their first show this year.

Spanning twenty five years just prior to the civil rights movement, the story of Driving Miss Daisy revolves around the warm-hearted, humorous and affecting study of the unlikely relationship between a rich, aging, crotchety Southern widow and her proud, soft-spoken chauffeur, hired by her son to avoid further disastrous car accidents…..

May 8th to 19th 2013
PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

Bookings are now open for strictly limited season:
Phone (09) 489-8360 or book on line at www.pumphouse.co.nz

Ticket prices
Adult $35 to $40
Seniors $35
Block bookings (10 or more) $33

Performance times 
Tuesday to Friday at 7-30pm
Saturdays at 2pm and 7-30pm
Sundays at 4pm

George Henare – Hoke Coleburn
Annie Whittle  - Daisy Werthan
Phil Peleton – Boolie Werthan 

Production personnel 
Producer – Tadpole Productions
Director – Louise Wallace
Production designer – John Antony
Set design – Nick Greer, John Antony
Wardrobe – Angela Antony
Lighting/sound design – Scott Thomas
Stage Manager – Sam Westley
Publicity – JA Consultancy
Graphic design – Gill Saker
Administration – Angela Antony
Set construction – Nick Greer BG Projects
Set Painters – John Antony, Robin Davies
Lighting & sound operator – Simon Woodard
Hair & makeup – Cut Above
Stage crew – Rashad Stanley

Insight, truth and lightness

Review by Johnny Givins 10th May 2013

A rare privileged for theatre audiences is at the Pumphouse.  Witness three superb actors as they display their power, skill and craft in this Pulitzer Prize winning play Driving Miss Daisy. It’s a delicate and fragile play of race relation and growing old against a backdrop of the emergence of the Black Liberation in the 1950s and 60s.

Annie Whittle is Miss Daisy.  She completely becomes the elderly Jewish white woman from Atlanta with the will of iron and the frailty of age. She is compelled to take African American Hoke Colburn as her chauffeur and there develops the unlikely, long-lasting 25 year friendship.  This Miss Daisy is accurate, intense and sparkles with southern charm and reluctant understanding.

George Henare is Hoke, the ‘warm-hearted’ black driver, but in this role he brings so much more. This is a performance that is flawless, intelligent, witty and above all subtle.  Henare has the lightness of touch that immediately engages.  Every scene is fulfilled and the audience love and understand every breath.

Phil Peleton is Daisy’s son Boolie and makes up the trio of experienced actors.  He is as southern as his mother with more insight, intelligence and a sense of reality that his mother lacks.  Peleton is as skilful as his more senior colleagues.  He brings an honesty of character to each scene.  He adds depth, total believability and a keen sense for the musical interplay in the duets.  

Driving Miss Daisy was written by Alfred Uhry, opening in 1987.  It ran for over a thousand performances before being made into the Oscar winning film featuring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.  The play was revived in 2010 in Broadway and is now on tour in Australia with Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones.

This production by Tadpole Productions gives Louise Wallace her first stage director credit.  What a great premier.  She has marshalled three excellent actors to explore the text with insight, truth and lightness.  The result is a play with an ease of performance that is so rare on the Auckland Stage. 

Simple settings and imaginative use of well selected back projected images round out the fine direction. Perhaps more attention to the design could have been made.  The barbeque ‘Bali’ chairs just reek of ‘Kiwi’, the wood benches lack the luxury and quality that the rest of the production oozes. 

The play is one hour and fifteen with no interval. An excellent night in the theatre to witness the power and humanity three skilled actors can create.


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