By Catherine Hannon
Special to the Record
From Oct. 4-8, at the Sid Williams Theatre, Courtenay Little Theatre presents Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling, a comedy-drama about the close-knit friendships between six ordinary southern women living in a small town in Louisiana.
The play takes place over several years, set in Truvy’s beauty shop, where the ladies regularly gather to get their hair done, share gossip and wisecrack their way through the ups and downs of their lives. Their relationships (and hair) grow and change as they deal with new romances, old husbands, marriage, birth and death – supporting each other with strength and humour.
Steel Magnolias originally opened off-Broadway in 1987 and was later made into a much-loved 1989 film. It’s a feast for an all-female acting ensemble, with complex characters and witty dialogue.
Courtenay Little Theatre’s version features talented local actors Nicole Abbott as salon owner Truvy, Emily Macham as her naive assistant Annelle, Val Macdonald as wealthy, sarcastic widow Clairee, Celine D Peters as Shelby, the diabetic newlywed, T.J. MacPherson as Shelby’s doting mother M’Lynn, and Jeannine Taylor as the sharp-tongued town crank, Ouiser.
“It’s a directing challenge to help the actors be authentic and find opportunities to express their characters’ love and compassion for friends and family while delivering very funny lines,” said director Kirstin Humpherys of her cast. “The women’s story of love, courage, comfort and of course their laughter, shine a light on what we need to strive for to create a better world. I am lucky to be working with seasoned actors of great skill and with a script that holds all that is needed.”
A big part of the fun of Steel Magnolias is watching all the moving parts of a beauty salon in action onstage. Truvy and Annelle fix the hair and nails of the other women, simultaneously taking part in the banter that flies back and forth across the shop. The nostalgic set, designed by Suzanne Sampson, is filled with authentic period pieces and the wigs by Nancy Parker and costumes by Molly Hillier are colourful and fun, reflecting 1980s fashion trends.
Steel Magnolias runs Oct. 4-8 at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay. Tickets are available at sidwilliamstheatre.com
For more information go to www.courtenaylittletheatre.com.