NODA Review: Steel Magnolias
Reviewed By: Peter Breach
Producer/Director: Linda Mallett
The setting for this play is ‘Trudy’s Beauty Parlour’ in the small town of Chinquapin, Louisiana, U.S.A. and full marks must go to the designers and builders for creating such a realistic set which even featured running water to facilitate hair washing. As one might imagine, a great deal of gossip takes place between the five female players and this includes several crackin g ‘one liners’ ,that despite the differences between American and British humour were easy to grasp. However, life is hardly ever a barrel of laughs all of the time and inevitably a tragedy occurs. It is then that the whole tenor of the play changes with previously held hostile opinions and feelings being shed and more caring and supportive attitudes adopted. Superb casting had Hazel Bridgen as ‘Truvy’, the salon owner and expert in all beauty matters, Charlotte Shearsby as ‘Annelle’, her newly employed assistant, Hayley Baker as ‘Shelby’, the ‘pink-obsessed bride-to-be, Emma Albuixech as ‘M’lynn’, Shelby’s determined mother, Helen Nicholson as ‘Claire’, the wealthy widow and owner of a radio station and Tina Hodgson as ‘Ouiser’, the odd-ball who turns out to be quite normal underneath. I have always regarded this play as presenting really testing roles for the players to contend with and I am delighted to report that under the astute direct ion of Linda Mallett they all delivered outstanding performances, coping well with the accent. This was a really riveting production - well done all who were involved.