Often scripts lose something when they’re translated. Not so with So Ry Miss Daisy, the Afrikaans and South Africanised adaptation of Driving Miss Daisy. Here, it adds another layer, contextualising it in the South African sphere and making it familiar.
A perfectly simple set, designed by Rocco Pool, features a large screen which changes scenes effortlessly. From the wallpaper in the lounge, to driving on the open road, to silhouetted telephone conversations.
John Kani and Sandra Prinsloo are superb in their roles. Hoke, employed to drive the elderly woman – he, himself, as elderly – after she crashes her car, and Miss Daisy, still stuck in Apartheid South Africa. They are well supported by Jacques Bessenger, playing Daisy’s more liberal son.
It’s a poignant story of a gentle friendship developing over many years, and the unlearning, even at Daisy’s advanced age, of the ingrained prejudices of her generation. This is punctuated perfectly by the reversal of prejudiced actions between son and mother toward the end.
The script is sharp and humorous and, if it’s at all possible, watch and listen in Afrikaans – the English surtitles lose some of the subtleties. Afrikaans is an extraordinarily expressive and beautiful language.
The end itself – without any spoilers – is moving in its South Africanism. Warning: take some tissues and don’t wear mascara!
So Ry Miss Daisy plays at the Fugard Theatre until 1 April 2017.