The cast of "Driving Miss Daisy" at the Plaza Theatre in Manalapan features a trio of in-sync virtuosos playing freely, playing tightly and playing sweetly.
Directed seamlessly by Michael Leeds, the comedy-drama by Alfred Uhry was turned into a mega-hit movie in 1989 with Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy. So, many theatergoers will be more than familiar with the story of the friendship that grows between an elderly Jewish woman and her black chauffeur in Atlanta between 1948 and 1973.
But somehow, here it all comes across as a bit of a revelation again — a re-revelation, if you will.
We can lay all the praise at the feet of Harriet Oser, who plays Daisy Werthan with a briny zeal tempered with just the right amount of schoolmarm dryness. Her first foil is her son Boolie, played Ken Clement, who has the comedic instincts of which many actors can only dream.
The play relies on the crackling energy between Miss Daisy and her driver Hoke Coleburn, played by John Archie, who through what appears to be a combination of sheer will and adept acting, manages to lift his subservient character out of dangerous Stepin Fetchit territory into something more convivial and adroit.
The finely scaled set manages to straddle that limbo zone between cobbled together and well-thought-out. The scene changes are fluid and fast, which helps keep the spell onstage unbroken over 80 minutes with no intermission. The last thing you'd want to do is throw off the timing or momentum of this theatrical triumvirate.
"Driving Miss Daisy" will run though Nov. 18 at the Plaza Theatre, 262 S. Ocean Blvd. in Manalapan. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Matinees are at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $45. To order, visit ThePlazaTheatre.net or call 561-588-1820.