Steel Magnolias

Date 28th March 2014
Society Ballywillan Drama Group
Venue Riverside Theatre, Coleraine
Director Brian Logan


Author: Sheelagh Hobart

Set in Louisiana, USA, 'Steel Magnolias' (based on the family experience of the author) follows a young woman who is diabetic, from her wedding day till her death almost 3 years later. The Set was a detailed full stage replica of a Beauty salon. Sabrina McKinney and Megan Cunning coped with dressing hair at the same time as acting out their roles as Salon owner Truvy and assistant Annelle. Both expressed their contrasting characters well; Sabrina, a confident lady thriving on incoming gossip from her clientele; Megan an introverted new assistant, who has history. Lesley Reynolds was Clairee, the rich widow of a former mayor. She was motherly and sympathetic while conveying the fact that she was the town VIP. Maxine McAleenon, went to town on the abrasive character, Ouiser.

Maelissa Cunning played mother of the bride, M'Lynn. Victoria Lagan was daughter Shelby, who was trying to break free from her protective mother by having a baby. As doctors had warned her of the danger of pregnancy her mother was understandably upset. Maelissa and Victoria displayed the tensions between mother and daughter while making clear their familial love. Victoria gave a assured performance and, in the final scene after her daughter died, Maelissa gave a stand out performance as a mother distraught at her loss.

Brian Logan directed an ensemble of 6 well cast actresses for this piece and attention to detail was evident throughout. Authentic costumes, were quickly changed between scenes to indicate intervals of time. Likewise  hairdressers were on hand to expertly change hairstyles.