by Robert Harling
28-30th March, 2008
Felpham Village Hall
Received NODA Drama Award - Accolade of Excellence - 2008
Cast of Steel Magnolias- Di Hiblen (left) and Liz McNally (right) receiving the NODA Drama Accolade for Excellence Award from NODA Representative Jose Harrison (centre) at Grayshott
|Directed by||John Covey|
|Production Asst./ Prompt||Sandy Knight|
|Production Manager||Elaine Green|
|Stage Manager||Chris Armstead|
|Set Design & Construction||Alex Marner|
|Sound & AV Projection||Peter Green|
|Poster/ Programme||Peter Green|
|Front of House||
The close-knit women at Truvy's Beauty Salon, the unofficial hub of Chinquapin La., have lots of time to gossip. Their husbands - absent, depressed, or dead - have made sure of that. Consequently, visitors to the salon get more than a wash and cut.
The wise-cracking Truvy, with the help of her new glamour technician Annelle, dispenses shampoo with liberal doses of free advice and gossip to the town's curmudgeon, Ouiser; an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee, and the local town social worker, M'Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby, is on the verge of marriage.
Alternately hilarious and touching, the play focuses on the camaraderie of these six Southern women who talk, gab, gossip, chitchat, needle and harangue each other through the best of times - and cry, caress, comfort and repair one another through the worst. They're soul mates in a rarefied way that assumes a cult of femininity - sisters come hell and high water. Pushing laughter and pain together, Steel Magnolias pulls tears from even the most cynical eyes.
The women at Truvy's beauty parlour are the steel magnolias of the title: Southern belles, flowery on the outside, but strong enough inside to survive any challenge, many of which are presented through the course of the narrative.
NODA Report - Jose Harrison, NODA Dist. 9 Rep.
I must commence my report by saying that this was one of the best plays I have been privileged to see since I became the NODA rep. My first congratulations go to John Covey for some really brilliant direction. This was not an easy play to put together with a small stage and only one set which the back stage team managed to alter very efficiently between each scene.
"Steel Magnolias" was known to me in name only so I had no idea of the treat in store. What a wonderful piece of theatre and what a superb cast you put together. They were all so good that it is difficult to single out any performances but I am going to mention two for very opposite reasons. Abi Holdsworth was quite remarkable. She had most probably the least lines of all the ladies and yet hardly ever left the stage but managed to maintain her character through-out. That is quite exceptional. The other remarkable performance came from Liz McNally who held her audience riveted for the final scene. You could have heard a pin drop during her final long speech. It was quite incredibly moving.
Please pass on my congratulations to everyone for a wonderful evening.
(Opening night - 28th March, 2008)