We ignored our own advice and forgot the hankies for the Abbey Theatre’s latest production, and our cuff was very damp by the end of the show.
‘Steel Magnolias’ by Robert Harling will make you laugh and cry in equal measures as it explores the lives and friendships of a group of remarkable Southern ladies.
Although set entirely in a hair salon the story is not confined by this and radio excerpts and vivid storytelling help it become a focus for all the comings and goings of the small Louisiana parish.
Without giving too much away, the cast make the most of the highs and the lows of as the ladies live, love and laugh in a truly heartwarming matter.
Hilary Tasker plays to a tee the kindly Truvy, who owns the salon and provides a friendly shoulder for everyone who comes by.
Laura Adam charts wonderfully the blossoming of young Annelle, a woman with a dark past who is welcomed into the fold and who grows as a person.
Caroline Pennant-Jones is Clairee, the ‘merry widow’ of the late mayor, and her wacky attitude brings many of the laughs as she clashes with the curmudgeonly Ouiser.
Speaking of curmudgeonly, Carol Bruce has a blast with the part of the prickly Ouiser, a Southern lady with a wasp’s tongue and a mule’s stubbornness.
M’Lynn, played with perfection by Pam Ruxton, weathers the emotional storm with grace and poise.
The final character, Shelby, treads a tragic path that binds the ladies together and Debbi Proctor is funny, insightful and full of pathos.
Without exception the ladies bring a lot of heart to their roles and almost as importantly - a consistent Southern accent.
The stage crew have put together a lovely little salon, with a little help from Danny Lafferty!
Director Brenda Reid has done an incredible job bringing together such a talented cast and we hope they are as well-supported as they deserve for the rest of their run which continues until Friday, April 28.