THEATRE REVIEW - Friendships as strong as Steel

A scene from the screen remake of Steel Magnolias
A scene from the screen remake of Steel Magnolias

A WITTY drama with a host of strong female characters is the latest production tackled by Wigan Little Theatre.

Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias has remained consistently popular since making its stage debut in 1987.

Bolstered by a successful, star-studded film adaptation a few years later (and since remade), the play continues to be staged at numerous theatres across throughout the world.

The play’s enduring relevancy likely stems from its themes of the power of sisterhood and its memorable script.

The show includes some powerful emotional moments that can border on melodrama, but Harling’s script balances out the pathos with some wickedly funny lines.

Stacey Vernon, the WLT production’s director, said: “The play is really about the relationships these women possess; sometimes the relationships bring conflict and sometimes they bring joy, but the most enduring thing the relationships between the main characters bring is support for one another through thick and thin...that’s something this superb cast have genuinely captured, you really end up rooting for the happiness of each of them!”

The action is set in an American beauty salon in which the women spend their Saturdays and spans the course of a couple years.

Each of the women have their own conflict that they come to terms with over the course of the play, most of them dealing with their relationships with one another and other people in their lives.

Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (who is not sure whether or not she is still married), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon, Ouiser, (“I’m not crazy, I’ve just been in a bad mood for 40 years”); an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee, who has a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M’Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby (the prettiest girl in town), is about to marry a “good ole boy”.

Every woman gets her moment in the spotlight and all of them grow significantly over the course of the play.

The play is a perfectly balanced, rich blend of humour and tragedy, truly displaying the strength of these Southern “steel magnolias.”

WLT’s show runs from May 7 to 17. Book online anytime www.wiganlittletheatre.co.uk