Steel Magnolias

Written by Robert Harling. Directed by Helen Page

Performed on Thursday 17 July - Saturday 19 July 2008 at Pentyrch Village Hall


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This is a poignant comedy-drama set in small town Southern America, about the bond among a group of women in Northwest Louisiana. All of the action revolves around Truvy's beauty salon in a small parish in modern day Louisiana. It is the story of a close-knit circle of female friends whose lives come together there. In the haven of Truvy's salon, these six very different women share their secrets and bare their souls, throwing in a little neighbourly gossip for good measure.The drama begins on the morning of Shelby's wedding to Jackson and covers events over the next year, including Shelby's decision to have a child despite having Type 1 diabetes and the complications that result from the decision. We also get a glimpse of the unlikely friendship between Claire and Ouiser; Annelle's transformation from a shy, anxious newcomer in town, to a partying woman, then to a religious fundamentalist; and Truvy's relationships with the men in her family. Although the main storyline involves Shelby's will to have a baby despite being warned against it, and her mother M'lynn's consternation to this, the underlying group-friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the drama.

NODA Review of Steel Magnolias

In July an impressive staging of the Robert Harling, bittersweet drama Steel Magnolias, at the Pentyrch Village Hall. This fine play explores the relationship of six women regulars who meet up in Truvy's beauty salon in a Louisiana hick-town and, over a span of three years, we share their laughter and gossip and also the pathos and sadness which eventually touches all of their lives. A sterling performance by Tracey Richards as Truvy –the effervescent owner of the parlour -with Karen Thomas, delightfully clumsy and nervous as her new-to-town assistant, Annelle. Karen Claridge, cool and poised as the wealthy first-Iady of the town, Clairee, and a lovely character performance by Brenda Slaughter as the belligerent Ouiser, finding and mellowing with late love.A believable and touching relationship with Sian Davies as the concerned and protective mother M'Lynn, and Victoria Walters, playing with sensitivity and depth, her daughter Shelby, a young bride lovely and full of life.  All powerful players with character and timing capable of turning pain and pathos to laughter in an instant, even through the play’s darker moments which deals with the harrowing subject of kidney failure.  A well-moved, pacey production by Helen Page, took us on a rollercoaster of the emotions and further enhanced the fine reputation of this young company.


Truvy                                            Tracy Richards

Annelle                                         Karen Thomas

Clairee                                          Karen Claridge

Shelby                                          Victoria Walters

M’lynn                                           Siān Davies

Ouiser                                           Brenda Slaughter


Production Team

Producer / Director                   Helen Page

Assistant Director                    Richard Jones

Stage Manager                         Wayne Brewer

Properties                                  Simon Jones

Set Design & Construction   Wayne Brewer, Josh Cripp, Nathan Brown

Lighting                                      Wayne Brewer

Sound                                         Nathan Brown

Radio Voice                               Martyn Lench

Business Manager                  Bob Petersen

House Manager                       Bob Petersen

Bar Manager                             Iain Campbell

House Staff                               Members and Friends of Hilltop

Box Office                                 Heather Major