Writtle Cards at the Village Hall
Another appointment at Miss Truvy's Louisiana beauty shop, nicely tricked out in Writtle Cards' production, with a credible logo, beauty paraphernalia courtesy of Mack Hairdressers, and pink gingham tabards for the entire staff: Deb Sparshott's charming proprietress, a performance oozing period style, and new girl Annelle [Leila Francis] who loses her way and finds religion.
The Southern drawl was mostly very convincing, at least to a Limey ear; most successful were Truvy herself, and Louise Burtenshaw's sassy Shelby – one of the best I've seen, taking us with her on her emotional journey from her “blush and bashful” wedding through her rite of passage crop to her final exit.
She's absent, of course, from the closing scene – black clad, accessorized in pink – in which her distraught mother M'Lynn [a lovely performance from Sharon Goodwin] makes a heart-breaking big speech, movingly supported by the listening faces of the four ladies in the salon.
The one-liners are largely in the safe hands of Jean Speller's grumpy Ouiser and Paulette Harris's superb smart-mouthed recipe queen Clairee, resplendent in her Victoria-plum velours, harvesting the laughs with a knowing glance and a nifty inflection.
Slim Whitman and Jimmy Dean on Shelby's transistor radio, and Patsy Cline's That Wonderful Someone for the Chinquapin baptists. Steel Magnolias was produced by Daniel Curley, with Liz Curley in the director's chair.