BWW Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at Hale Centre Theatre is a Slice of Life
The acting, direction, and design of Hale Centre Theatre's STEEL MAGNOLIAS (presented on its Jewel Box Stage) all contribute to a realistic production that delivers a captivating slice of life.
STEEL MAGNOLIAS, by Robert Harling, is a hit play that was adapted into a beloved 1989 film starring Dolly Parton, Sally Field, and Julia Roberts. Set in a neighborhood beauty salon in the 1980s, it is a dramedy that explores the relationships and struggles of six women whose lives are intertwined.
The cast is superb with nuanced, realistic acting. The standouts are Tamari Dunbar as M'Lynn (double cast with DeLayne Bluth Dayton), Linda Jean Stephenson as Clairee (double cast with Teri Cowan), and Elise Groves Pearce as Shelby (double cast with Madison Ford).
Brooklynn Pulver Kohler as Truvy (double cast with Michelle Linn Hall), Serena Collins as Annelle (double cast with Amy Ware), and Vicki Pugmire as Ouiser (double cast with Jayne Luke) also provide enjoyable characterizations.
The direction by Larry West is top notch, keeping the dialogue and movement grounded in real life rather than resorting to broad strokes.
The set by Jenn Stapley Taylor feels like a working salon, and it is firmly and accurately entrenched in the 1980s, as are the props by Lesli Spencer and costumes by Tracy Jean Graham.
The hair and makeup design by Candice Cronin is fantastic with wigs that look real and new hairstyles on rotation throughout. And for a play set in a beauty salon, that's just as it should be.
STEEL MAGNOLIAS plays through June 1, 2019. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.