Steel Magnolias – a warm, witty and uplifting story about the strength of female friendship, is currently showing at Leicester’s Curve theatre, and it’s well worth a watch for the amazing feel good vibes alone…
For those who are not familiar with the plot, which was made into a film starring Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts back in the late 80s, it follows six small-town southern women, whose social lives revolve around meetings in the local beauty parlor. And that is where the entire production is set, as we learn about snippets of their lives through the easy (and often hilarious) conversations they have whilst getting their hair done by Truvy – the salon’s owner.
Truvy Jones – a gutsy blond, with a huge perm and a huge heart, was played wonderfully by Dolly Parton in the famous 1989 film.
However, in this production, Lucy Speed takes the reins of the iconic role with ease.
Rocking a platinum blond wig, and sporting a perfect southern accent, Ms Speed fills Truvy’s shoes with ease, and was absolutely mesmerising from start to finish – bursting with an infectious joy and a sass which was second to none.
She was a magnetic presence on the stage – tottering around the stage, taking care of business and making her customers feel wonderful as they came into the salon one-by-one, for her special brand of magic.
I was instantly drawn to the character – her maternal good nature, sass and effortless charm. Also of note was the actresses comic timing, which was spot on throughout.
I also enjoyed the performance by Diana Vickers, who played Shelby Eatenton – a young woman with a joyful feel-good energy, which I instantly warmed to. We first meet her in Truvy’s salon, as she is getting her hair done ready for her upcoming wedding.
The character is key to the heart of the story, which is hit by tragedy later on, prompting an incredibly strong and emotional performance by Laura Main. Ms Main plays Shelby’s mum M’Lynn Eatenton, and her dramatic, performance in the closing scenes brought tears to my eyes, as I felt her despair emanate from the stage and hit me full force…
Light relief was brought with expert precision by the actress Caroline Harker – playing the well-to-do Clairee Belcher.
All of the women are strong, but have their own vulnerabilities – an air of fragility about them – hence the title; ‘Steel Magnolias.’
The characters are bright, funny and whip-sharp – people you’d actually want to be friends with, and that’s one of the main draws of going to the show I think.
I came away feeling like I’d spent a couple of hours with good friends – laughing, putting the world to rights and gaining a fresh new perspective on life…
I felt like I’d seen something powerful; fun, iconic, but equally raw, real and so relatable. I loved the 80s aesthetic; the fashion and the decor on stage, together with the hilarious one liners which make this a fun and uplifting watch. However, what I loved most was the bond between the women and the touching, timeless message of friendship which will no doubt live on for generations to come…
Catch Steel Magnolias at Curve until Saturday, April 8