note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Bob Guenthner a k a The Old Grump
by Robert Harling
directed by Lisa Rafferty
M'Lynn - Cindy Capra
Ousser - Theresa Chiasson
Shelby - Kris Connelly
Clairee - Juliana Dennis
Annelle - Susan Waterman
Truvy - Cinda Donovan
Radio announcer - John Dennis
I don't want to sound like a sexist, but Steel Magnolias is a woman's soap opera. Even though it is a drama, there is enough humor sprinkled in to keep it from being morose. The story is set in a beauty parlor. The cast is made up of, the owner of the shop Truvy, her assistant Annelle, and four lady's who are all friends as well as customers. The saga revolves around Shelby. The problems that befall this girl are dreadful. The poor thing has a rough time of it in her short life.
Kris had the difficult job of portraying the unfortunate Shelby. She had to show anger one moment, and then flip flop to being a sweet child. If we throw in an epileptic seizure, you have a role that needed an actor with a high degree of talent. If Kris is not nominated for some sort of an award for her portrayal, it will be a crime.
Cindy played Shelby's mother. She did such a good job as a meddlesome know it all, I found it difficult to feel any sorrow for her at the end of the play. There is one thing I have to add about Cindy. I met her after the show and found out what a gorgeous creature she is, a real good looker.
Cinda was the shop owner. She was a mother confessor to the group. She heard every problem, and had to try and say, and do the right thing. Cinda was super in the part, and is another, oh so good looking lady in person.
Speaking of good looking. Julie Dennis was quite funny as the wealthy one in the group. She did the dry humor of her character with just the proper amount of physical flair. This is the first time I have seen Julie do this much dialog. I hope we can see more of it in the future.
Theresa has played the tough acting broad in several other plays. You hate to burden an actor with one type of a part, but Theresa does a super job with it. I can picture her as a stand up comic, she has that way about her.
Annelle was the new girl in town. She was hired to work in the shop. A mixed up girl mentally. If something could be done wrong, she did it that way. Susan handled the role perfectly. The blank, "I don't understand anything" look was great, as was her voice infliction's.
The only male in the play, was heard but not seen. John, Julie's real life husband, played a radio personality / sports talk person on the station she owned. I know this was a difficult challenge for him, but he came through marvelously.
The set was, as all sets at Company, magnificent. I have my hair cut in a beauty parlor every three weeks or so, and this place looked very familiar to me. I am charged half the price of a barber shop. I am not smart, but smart enough to count money.
The only time a directors work is noticed, is when it is badly done. Well, Lisa was invisible. She had every movement and every line delivered perfectly. Quality directing is a fine art, and Lisa is an artist.
In my humble opinion, this cast rivaled a professional one. Each girl had the chance to show off their acting abilities, and did not fail They proved to the audience and me that they were all accomplished actors.