By Diva Shari Parsons
GODERICH – Big hair and big personalities were center stage on the opening night of Goderich Little Theatre‘s production of Robert Harling’s play, Steel Magnolias.
The evening began with the play’s director, Colleen Caesar, sharing the interesting factoid that while many of us may be familiar with the 1989 movie of the same name, the film was actually based on the play written by Robert Harling who wrote about the true-life story of his sister, Susan.
I was uncertain as to what to expect from a small town theatre company putting on a play whose story was first made known to the general populace through a well-known movie filled with famous actors. However, the Goderich Little Theatre surpassed all my expectations with their excellent rendition.
The stage was set to resemble the interior of a home-based beauty salon. I appreciated the clever use of a lower level for the placement of the stylist chairs, leaving the sight-line to center stage clear as this was where a lot of the action took place. With the exception of a few thematic prop changes that indicated time changes, the setting stayed the same throughout the play.
The brassy, bold and somewhat over-the-top character of salon owner, Truvy Jones, was humorously played by Lisa Hood sporting a bright blonde puffy hairstyle and slightly tacky, curve-hugging clothes.
My favourite actors were Leigh Ann Van Aaken as the mother, M’Lynn Eatenton, and Sherry Marshall as Claree Belcher, the former first lady of Chinquapin Parish. Both ladies portrayed their characters with such natural ease and realism that you forgot they were just the actors and not the real characters themselves.
I was very surprised to see a young lady that I know from my ladies’ fellowship group – Courtney Henry – playing the part of the somewhat lost apprentice, Annelle.
The irascible character of Ouiser Beaudreaux was portrayed by Annie Coulter. Annie did a good job carrying out the physical demeanor and voice of her character.
Shauna Clark did a good job portraying Shelby, the young woman whose story is the centre of the play. I can’t describe her as being the main character as I found that each of the characters was larger than life and each of them had her own story to tell.
I was very impressed by the incredible amount of dialogue that needed to be memorized and by the almost flawless delivery of the famous Southern drawl.
My friend and I both thoroughly enjoyed this play portrayed with great humour and gentle sorrow. To top it off, I won a door prize! I highly encourage everyone to see this production.
If you go:
What: Goderich Little Theatre’s Steel Magnolias
Where: The Livery, 35 South St., goderich
When: Nov. 7 and 11 to 14 at 8 p.m. Nov. 8 at 2 p.m.
How: Tickets are $20 / $18 for members and $25 / $22.50 for non-members. Buy tickets online or at the Box Office, open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesday to Friday, from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 30 minutes before each performance. Phone 519-524-6262 for reservations. Please note a credit card number is required for ticket reservations