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BrumHour saw Steel Magnolias at the invite of The Alexandra.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, Lucy Speed spoke about her role in Steel Magnolias and bringing this touring production to Birmingham.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production explores themes surrounding death and grief.
Review: Steel Magnolias at The Alexandra
⭐⭐⭐⭐Both Heart-breaking and heart-warming
Written by Robert Harling, Directed by Anthony Banks
Set in a small town in Louisiana, USA in the 1980s, Steel Magnolias, explores the lives of six women who are connected by the hair salon owned by Truvy (Lucy Speed) who takes on a young woman Annelle (Elizabeth Ayodele) as her new assistant. It’s the wedding day of Shelby (Diana Vickers) and her mother M’Lynn (Laura Main) brings her to the salon for wedding preparations. The group is completed by Clairee (Caroline Harker) the widow of a former town mayor, and seemingly grumpy Ouiser (played at this performance by Claire Carpenter).
This is a warm, thoughtful drama filled with lots of light-hearted comedic moments. Friendship and community are at the core of this story which could have really been set in any hair salon with regulars. The fact it comes from writer Robert Harling own family experience makes it all the more personal.
Lucy Speed stands out as the lynchpin role of the group and given the logistics of having to work on someone’s hair during a live performance, it must all be very well timed. I really enjoyed Caroline Harker’s posh sounding accent, almost British to most ears but distinctly American. And Diana Vickers is delightful as Shelby.
Some of the audience may struggle to hear dialogue, particularly over the radio playing on the stage as there are no mic’s to speak of. However, I only found this an issue when the actors were directly facing into each other.
The set is a single static set which reverses after the interval, giving us just two perspectives of the salon. All covered in 1970s strips of wood with faded photos of popular haircuts of the time.
I’d not seen the film inspired by this stage production, but I knew enough to know it would be bittersweet and it sure was!
Both Heart-breaking and heart-warming, Steel Magnolias is at The Alexandra until 25th March. Book tickets using BrumHour’s affiliate link >> HERE <<.