Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias
By Robert Harling
Directed by Paxton McCaghren
Queen’s Head Theatre
Winter Park, FL

There may be no secrets in a beauty parlor, but there ARE secrets in a beauty parlor. Off in rural Louisiana Truvy (Joy Jenkins) runs a little shop in her garage; hubby built it so she wouldn’t annoy him while he watches TV. Helpless Annelle (Grace Trotta) arrives, her hubby ran off with everything on the lam from drug charges and Truvy hires here for her color skills. The regulars drift in, but today is special: Shelby (Molly Wurez) is about to marry, and her mom M’Lynn (Melody Carson) wants her to look special even if she takes pink past any logical conclusion. Rounding out the troupe is well off Clairee (Brenna Arden) who owns the local radio station and Ousier (Karen Casteel) who hangs out because … well, we all need a place to hang out.

The Queens Head has a large and spacious set, and even with minimal lighting it looked gorgeous. Wurez’s Shelby was excellent as a girl trying to get out from under mom’s thumb. Her goal was motherhood itself, and while that was harder for her than it should be, she drives towards it with determination and will. Ms. Trotta’s Annelle was equally driven, but in a more internalized manner that expresses itself as a religious experience. Ms. Arden was generally confident in her role, even if she (like others in the cast) felt iffy on her lines after 3 shows. If there’s a star it’s Truvy; her confidence and common sense showed through as did her sense of early 1980’s style.

While this is a “chick flick” in many ways, it’s one with real heart and tons of gags, most of which connected. This is Queen’s Head first official production (they ran a test show back in December) and they are off the dock and ready to present a season with some interesting selections. As of this show they don’t have a very noticeable sign, but they are worth the search. Plan to arrive early; while parking is no problem it took me a while to find the location the first time I went.

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