Driving Miss Daisy to Richmond Theatre
Pulitzer Prize-winning production Driving Miss Daisy is coming to Richmond Theatre later this month, with Gwen Taylor playing Daisy Werthan.
Known to many as the film starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, Driving Miss Daisy started its life in the theatre.
The story follows widowed 72-year-old Daisy Werthan, whose son hires her an African American chauffeur after she crashes her car.
Gwen says there is no interval in the play, which is just under 90 minutes, and her character is on stage for the duration.
Ian Porter plays Boolie Werthan, Gwen’s son, and the driver Hoke Coleburn is played by Rising Damp star Don Warrington.
She says: “There are only three of us in it, so we are a close knit little community.”
Gwen says it was a pleasure to work with Don. He says: “He is a great actor – he relished the part.”
During the course of the play, which opened in Guilford last week, the pair develops a friendship and issues such as prejudice and inequality are raised.
Gwen says: “She’s a very spiky old lady, quite rude at times. She has lived her life her way. It’s the story of 20 years of her life, so she ages throughout it and she’s nearly 90 by the time it finishes.”
Gwen, who started her career in the theatre, recently departed from Coronation Street in a dramatic exit where she played mother of Frank, Anne Foster.
The 73-year-old actress says she likes both television roles and live theatre.
She says: “As long as the role is good and exciting and challenging, I don’t mind what medium it is in.”
Gwen, who listens to tapes to learn her mid-century Georgian accent, says the audience reaction has been very warm.
She says: “Everybody has been very kind. It is a terribly good play and very well written. It is good to get a part for an old woman which is really testing.”
Gwen, who lives in north-west London, says she is looking forward to performing at Richmond Theatre later this month.
She says: “Richmond will be great fun – I can commute there. It is always a pleasure; I like the theatre and have played there a number of times over the years.”
- Driving Miss Daisy, Richmond Theatre October 22 to 27. Tickets cost £15 to £29.50, available from atgtickets.com/richmond or the box office on 0844 8717651.