Steel Magnolias.

Just want to start off by saying sorry I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. I have just been so busy with my new training at work and lots of family plans. After this week I promise I will be back to normal, and blogging as often as I can. On my breaks at work however, I have been reading all about blogging and how I can improve my writing to engage more with an audience. I’m excited to start building what I have learnt into my blogs, again when I get back into it at the weekend. I doubt I am going to have time to blog this week as I have a very very busy week ahead, but I’ll try my best as writing really does seem to calm and relax me, maybe something I’m going to need this week. Although, I’m so excited for the week ahead!

After a very busy week of training at work last week, I was so excited for a break away visiting family in Blackpool. On Saturday evening we went to the theatre to watch a little amateur dramatics group perform ‘Steel Magnolias’ at a small theatre in Thornton. I wanted to share my experience with you, I had such a great night, they even made me cry! This is the first time I have written a theatre review, so bare that in   mind, ha!

The play was an adaptation of the 1989 hit film ‘Steel Magnolias’ written by Robert Harling. It is a story that delves into the theme of strong friendship but also illness, in this case diabetes. It explores important messages which I imagine left a big impact on the audience. It certainly affected me personally! As stated above this certain play was in Blackpool at The Thornton Little Theatre and was performed by The Windmill Players, a small drama group that has been running for years. Check out their website: http://www.thewindmillplayers.co.uk. Although I know they won’t be performing this particular play again, they do have some in place for the near future. And I would definitely recommend going to see one of their performances, I will be going again! I also wanted to share my experience to try and enlighten people with the strong story of Steel Magnolias, so that hopefully I can influence your decision to go and see the play if it comes to your area.

The story was set in a salon and explored the lives of six women who formed a strong bond of friendship. They are all very different people with different backgrounds but they are the best of friends. The story is set in a salon run by Truvy, played by Judi Adams and in the beginning she hires new girl Annelle played by Karen Rogerson and is doing Shelbys, played by Claire Hull Naylor, hair for her wedding day. We learn all about Shelbys diabetes from her mother M’Lynn, played by Sarah-Jane Stone, and the story continues to play out concentrating mainly on Shelbys life. Clairee played by Maureen McCrea and Ouiser played by Denise Flynn complete the 6 pack and they are two older regulars of the salon, who lead very interesting lives! A very fun loving, girly, high emotional and sensitive drama.

For a very small amateur dramatics group I was very impressed with the quality of acting: it was fantastic. A real variety too! Each of the six women were all great actors, and complemented each other really well. They all brought something different to the story and experimented with each of the characters greatly; They all fit their roles perfectly. There was a mixture of personalities too which always makes an interesting story.  I won’t spoil it and go into too much detail of the characters in case you want to go see it but a very dippy blonde who loves pink mixing and becoming friends with a naggy old women was brilliant! The staging and directing was spot on, very realistic and fitting to the story too. It must have been hard to tell the whole story from the one salon set but it was done superbly! Big congrats to Jackie Rhodes on putting together a fantastic production.

As I’ve mentioned above it was all set in the one set of a ladies Salon. The set design was quite minimalistic but suited the story perfectly. The set was used to its highest potential with the small stage they had to work with. The idea of having two chairs that faced the audience and the mirrors being the audience was a great added aspect in my opinion. It worked really well in revealing certain elements to the audience. I.e the changes in each of the characters over the years that had past in the play. There was everything else you would expect from a normal salon and it was of course pink! So what more can you expect?
The Lighting didn’t change throughout which was a little upsetting as it may have added more impact to some of the scenes. Sound was also a problem as the actors didn’t have microphones and at times struggled to project themselves. The costumes were great, again matching the characters perfectly. Costumes always help in understanding a character and they definitely did help to emphasise the personalities of the six women in this play. They weren’t very extravagant but that wasn’t needed for this type of play and these characters.

The play had a very positive reaction from the audience as a whole. There were loud spouts of laughter throughout and also I few people weeping towards the end, including me! It was an outstanding performance which I would 100% recommend to anyone. If this particular play is coming to somewhere near you sometime soon, definitely get your tickets as soon as you can, you will not be disappointed! A definite 5/5 star rating. 🌟

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