Reviewed by Odette McCarthy
The Lane Cove Theatre Company has been holding performances of Steel Magnolias for newcomers or dedicated movie fans. The Lane Cove community provides affordable and entertaining live performances and theatre opportunities to its surrounds. Prepare to be greeted with friendly faces, yummy cheese platters and cocktails, coffee and tea plus sweet snacks as you view the performance.
Director of the play Steel Magnolias described the play through himself; “Laughter and tears is my favourite emotion.” My first thought was that this was NOT an emotion, but rather his own reaction towards either movie or play. Here are my very individual thoughts about this performance.
I felt slightly stripped of genuine emotion, the connection between characters, and relation to the audience (despite obvious friends/family). However, I was struck by the older characters, Claire played by Carole Grace, and Ouiser, played by Michelle Bellamy. Perhaps it was their undying dedication to the industry, and talent towards playing a diverse range of characters. I applaud all actresses, 6 within a small, thus somewhat uninteresting and unbelievable setting, but feel that this Hex-A-Logue included way too much drama aimed at each other, with little openness towards the audience.
I would have loved the true-story base that playwright Robert Harling originally wrote to be felt through this perfomance. Writing the play in only 10 days, he wanted the audience to feel a true representation of the family endurance based on the experiences of his own sister’s death. The ups and downs of change could have been expressed on a more intimate level.
Kudos to all cast and crew members, both back and front of stage, for their time and dedication to the story and play.
The Lane Cove Theatre Company is always on the lookout for interested volunteers, both on and off stage. New skills, ideas and helpful hands are always appreciated in all roles.