Wellington Theatre Company’s production of Robert Harling’s funny and moving play, ‘Steel Magnolias’, is in the final stages of rehearsal at The Arts Centre and looks likely to repeat the stunning success ‘Calendar Girls’ in 2013.
With a strong cast of notable and experienced Arts Association performers, the play is directed by Rachel Buttell whose role as Chris Harper in ‘Calendar Girls’ will be remembered by audiences for its dramatic strength and conviction.
The action takes place in Truvy’s beauty salon in a small town community in Louisiana in the 1980’s. Here, the women of the town come to gossip, have their hair and nails done and share their joys and tragedies. As in ‘Calendar Girls’, each of the women convey contrasting personalities, strengths and weaknesses and their conversations and observations about their community and lives are full of humour – much of it sharp and witty. When tragedy strikes their support of one another is deeply moving, conveying all the strengths that come from individuals living in small towns – not unlike Wellington.
The backstage team has transformed the stage at The Arts Centre into a very realistic salon which provides the authenticity that the play requires. Robert Harling wrote the play – his first – after his own sister died. In an author’s note in the script he says, “The women in this play are witty, intelligent and above all, real characters. They are, in no way, shape or form, meant to be portrayed as cartoons and caricatures.” From the evidence of the play in rehearsal, this engaging realism – and the very funny dialogue – will delight audiences.
“Steel Magnolias’ opens at Wellington Arts Centre, Eight Acre Lane, on 5th April until 8th April at 7.30pm with a matinee performance on Saturday 8th April at 2.30pm. Tickets are available online from www.ticketsource.co.uk/wellingtonartscentre, by phone on 0844 997 9000, by post from The WAA Box Office, PO Box 121, Wellington TA21 1BW and from Odette’s Tearoom, 27 High Street, Wellington.