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Steel Magnolias
a Comedy
by Robert Harling

COMPANY : Gypsy Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Sylvia Beard Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4761

SHOWING : July 16, 2015 - August 02, 2015



The action is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are "anybody" come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon, Ouiser, an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee, who has a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M’Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby (the prettiest girl in town), is about to marry a "good ole boy." Filled with hilarious repartee and not a few acerbic but humorously revealing verbal collisions, the play draws on the underlying strength—and love—which give the play, and its characters, the special quality to make them truly touching, funny and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad.

Director Mercury
Clairee Kirsten Benson
M’Lynn Jan Grimshaw
Annelle Bekah Medford
Shelby Elizabeth V. Powell
Ouiser Kathleen Seconder
Truvy Suzanne Stroup
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


by playgoer
Sunday, August 2, 2015
"Steel Magnolias" is in the breed of plays that are nearly foolproof if done in a fashion that respects the script. Robert Harling’s play has tons of humor and heart and a cast of six unique females that provide comic and dramatic opportunities for any talented actress. Gypsy Theatre Company has the talented actresses and respect for the script that make this a highly successful production.

As in most larger venues, the set appears far grander than a converted carport. The outside door is modest, though, and the decor isn’t overly extravagant. The imaginary fourth wall is assumed to be a mirror in this production, with actresses facing front to view themselves in it. There’s not much viewing from one station to another through mirrored reflections, though, which is a bit of a lost opportunity in Mercury’s direction. Otherwise, he blocks the action so that the eye goes to all the important movements, whether or not accompanied by dialogue.

Joel Coady’s light design and Mercury’s sound design are effective, as are Danielle Gustaveson’s costumes and props. This is a good-looking production. The onstage hair styling is better than in many productions, but doesn’t get terribly complicated. Still, there’s enough visual differences among the hairdos to ring relatively true.

The cast age range is on the young side for "Steel Magnolias." Kathleen Seconder as Ouiser appears much younger than Clairee (Kirsten Benson), which throws off the balance between their characters. It doesn’t help that Ms. Seconder’s portrayal is much less successful than Ms. Benson’s (who does a wonderful job of suggesting hoarseness in one scene). Suzanne Stroup also appears too young for Truvy, but her sweet and sassy performance makes one forget any objections. Bekah Medford is a scene-stealing hoot as Annelle (but always totally in character), while Elizabeth V. Powell is equally successful in her portrayal of Shelby. Jan Grimshaw makes some unexpected acting choices as M’Lynn, some of which are more effective than others. Still, all in all, this is a cast that does credit to the script.

"Steel Magnolias" is a crowd-pleasing, sure-fire hit for female audiences. Gypsy Theatre Company is packing them in at the well-appointed Sylvia Beard Theatre. It’s a show with pleasures for anyone, but one that women in particular seem to treasure. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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