I went to The Barn Theatre in Cirencester last night to see Driving Miss Daisy. The Barn is a relatively new theatre whose newness was stalled by Covid, but it has survived and without much scarring. The offerings to date have pleased me four times and irritated me twice, which is better than Chichester Festival in recent years. However, I honestly have not enjoyed a play so much since I saw Roy Dotrice playing John Aubrey in Brief Lives some four decades ago. “Miss” Daisy Werthan (SUSAN TRACY), Hoke Colburn (MENSAH BEDIAKO), and the son Boolie Werthan (JOHN SACKVILLE) are a fabulous set of characters to watch grow and unfold and bind and unite, and the script is a gem. Playing those characters must be a gift. So far, so good, so remembered, so lovely; yadda yadda …. we all saw the film and thought Morgan Freeman was nailed on for the big time and that Jessica Tandy was USA acting royalty.
But this was different. This was intimate, quiet, caring, kinder, and sharper than I remembered. Bediako was an absolute rock, around which all the interaction eddied and flowed, while Susan Tracy was brilliant and grew interested and interesting, caring became cared and cared for, and compassion and kindness were before our eyes. Ms. Tracy never let one think that her carapace of arriviste Yiddish wealth had cracked in any sense. The production settings and lighting are simple and stunning, and even between scene changes, the principals never stepped out of character, so towards the end, one felt Hoke aged some 80+ years old was struggling to reset the stage for the next scene. The players never see this from their spots, but when the curtain came down, and the audience was leaving, I saw a half dozen men and women dabbing cheeks and blowing noses – and it wasn’t a cold.
It runs until the 17th of September, and I cannot recommend it more.
On the subject of catching a cold, Day one at Donny wasn’t a train crash, and the big bet came in at 11/4. We could still have done with one of the long ones coming in.
1:25 Offer DONCASTER British Stallion Studs EBF ‘Carrie Red’ Fillies’ Nursery Hcap Cl2 (2yo) 6½f 10 run
Karl Burke is 2W 3P 8R. That stat alone in a tricky handicap suggests
CATHY COME HOME 5 pts Win (if 5/1 or less) 3 pts e/w if 11/2 or more – ALEXA’S PRINCESS 1½ pts e/w
2:00 Offer DONCASTER Weatherbys Scientific £300,000 2-Y-O Stakes Cl2 (2yo) 6½f 15 run
5 places with Skybet and Betfair. My trends shortlist is COLD CASE – ONCE MORE FOR LUCK – PJANJOO – GALERON. The top weight’s OR looks very solid and is based on decent form. You could make a case for each of the other three, who are all big prices and I’m going to have a small pop at a brace of them with a special eye on ONCE MORE FOR LUCK who was seventh in the The Super Sprint and ran well over sharper LTO.
COLD CASE 4 pts Win – ONCE MORE FOR LUCK 1 pt e/w – GALERON 1½ pts e/w
2:15 Offer EPSOM Bohle Jump Jockeys Derby Hcap (For Professional Jump Jockeys) Cl4 (4yo+ 0-85) 1m4f 13 run
BAD COMPANY 2 pts e/w
2:35 Offer DONCASTER Cazoo May Hill Stakes (G2) (Fillies) Cl1 (2yo) 1m 10 run
DANCE IN THE GRASS 4 pts Win – FERRARI QUEEN 3 pts e/w
Back both at 1 pt e/w in the 1000 Gns Antepost market at 33/1
3:10 Offer DONCASTER Coral Park Hill Fillies’ Stakes (G2) Cl1 (3yo+) 1m6½f 8 run
My shortlist is YESYES – GLENARTNEY – ESHAADA. Ralph Beckett is the probable fly in the ointment with his YESYES the most likely to upset ESHAADA. The favourite comes to the race with question marks all around. Only two runs this season? Neither up to last year’s form? A much longer distance?
YESYES 3 pts Win – GLENARTNEY ½ pt e/w
3:45 Offer DONCASTER Cazoo Hcap Cl2 (3yo 0-100) 7f 10 run
Roger Varian has a 50% strike rate in the race, and ZAINALARAB caught the eye by winning a Sandown handicap last time out as the only 3yo in the field. He bought up his hat trick easily and won going away. Back with his age group, his 5lb rise will surely count for little. HARROW looks to be value
ZAINALARAB 5 pts Win – HARROW 2 pts e/w