Review: Steel Magnolias at Quarndon Village Hall
Steel Magnolias A Beating Heart. In Need of a Little Massage.
Quarndon Amateur Dramatic Society’s moving presentation from a cast of six, quirky, female characters beguile the audience with laughter, and some tears, in a sprightly take on Robert Harling’s ‘Steel Magnolias’. A story of heartache, hope and ultimately, strength, writes Sarah Colston.
As a way of easing trauma in his life Harling wrote this autobiographical play in just ten days.
The drama unfolds in a small town beauty salon in Louisiana. We can almost smell the hairspray from a stage set adorned with cumbersome hairdressing artefacts and pop culture posters of the period. Cute American accents and music playing on an old radio, effectively transport us back to another time and place.
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Truvy, played by Marilyn Pendlebury, owns the salon, and imparts words of wisdom to timid new recruit Annelle (Rachel Nichols). ‘There is no such thing as natural beauty’ she intones, effectively establishing her place of importance in the lives of the gaggle of customers who stroll in. Friends, really, seeking their daily dose of gossip, intimate chatter and therapy in the guise of beauty treatment. Witty one-liners abound. The hilarious Clairee (Susan Green) proclaims ‘accessories are the only thing that separates us from the animals’.
Young actress Alex Wrampling plays the blonde-haired beauty Shelby. Echoes of American actress Kate Hudson are no bad thing. Conveying her love for all things pink, and feminine, Shelby is a ball of fun, so excited by life that each word said stands in the way of the next one. This effervescence, may hide some deeper sorrow. As events unfold the audience are invited to make their own judgement.
The ensemble successfully convey the camaraderie, borne of weary experience and the rigours of life, Humour is the firewall that protects them if tragedy strikes. For this reviewer the play hit the right spots. Polka dot heaven.
WHAT: Steel Magnolias
WHERE: Quarndon Village Hall
WHEN: November 21-24, 7.30pm
BOX OFFICE: Call 01332 844518,
or visit www.quarndonquads.co.uk