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BWW Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at Castle Craig Players


Inspired, in part, by true events

BWW Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at Castle Craig Players

On Saturday, October 16, I had the pleasure of returning to the Almira F. Stephan Memorial Playhouse in Meriden, CT, to see the Castle Craig Players' performance of STEEL MAGNOLIAS by Robert Harling. Under the superb direction of Pam Amodio, this stellar cast provides what is both a humorous and emotionally moving experience for the audience. Yet again, the Castle Craig Players have performed a phenomenal show!

All six cast members become their characters, both as individuals, and in terms of the dynamics between them. They sell every line and every bit of stage business, remaining fully present in the scenes both while delivering lines and while reacting to the lines being delivered by the other cast members. Their southern drawls are flawless. Their acting and positive energy is so convincing that during a scene set at Christmastime, they even make you forget that in real life, it is still only mid-October.

The story is set in the 1980s, the set being the inside of a beauty salon, owned by Truvy who likes to gossip and has plenty of great one-liners, delivered by Gina Marie Davies with perfect comedic timing and tones that maximize the humor of these well written lines.

Truvy's friends and frequent customers include Clairee who is recently widowed, but has maintained a sense of humor. Catherine Quirk is perfect for this role, playing off the other characters with realistic precision.

Other frequent customers include the mother and daughter M'Lynn and Shelby, whose loving yet often argumentative relationship is realistically portrayed through the stage chemistry between Clare Fravel and Sarah Yeisley who both excel at their performances of these respective roles.

Ouiser is another frequent customer, one who is usually in a foul mood. Dawn Maselli truly brings this character to life simultaneously being serious and humorous.

My favorite character is Annelle, who is Truvy's new employee at the salon. Julia Torello brings total believability to this character. Annelle becomes a Christian who shows poise and class, a willingness to pray for her persecutors, and respect towards all, even those who don't respect her. She is also willing to assertively, yet charitably take a stand for the truth, if her actions are misconstrued or misrepresented. It is so refreshing to see a show that has a Christian character properly portrayed as a true Christian.

This male playwright has managed to write a story that genuinely conveys women and their relationships with each other. While the intended target audience for such a production is women, as many would find one or more of these characters to be highly relatable, a male audience can appreciate the depth and humor of this story, too.

I highly recommend STEEL MAGNOLIAS which is scheduled to continue to run through October 24, 2021. For times and tickets, if any should remain in this fast selling show, please go to Tickets.

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