Steel yourself for some stellar performances

Steel Magnolias by CADOS at Chorley Little Theatre. Back row: Cassandra Moon, Sue Hilton, Kate Burke. Front row: Diane Glover, Joanna Gillespie, Renee Clitheroe
Steel Magnolias by CADOS at Chorley Little Theatre. Back row: Cassandra Moon, Sue Hilton, Kate Burke. Front row: Diane Glover, Joanna Gillespie, Renee Clitheroe

Steel Magnolias - CADOS, Chorley Little Theatre

Until Saturday

Hats off to Rebecca Dickinson in her directorial debut.

Directing six women (albeit accomplished actors themselves) is no easy task, especially when the set is Truvy’s beauty salon where the clients actually have their hair washed, dried and finished before your very eyes!

I wasn’t close enough to the nail bar to see if the same happened there, but I’d bet a few bob it did.

The six prize magnolias – at first seeming to be only interested in gossiping over a cup of coffee – soon give greater depth to their characters as we reach into their lives.

Cassandra Moon is excellent in the role of Truvy, backed up by her eager-to-learn junior assistant Annelle (Kate Burke) – a Christian who is scared of her landlady.

Clairee (Renee Clitheroe) pops in to have her hair curled and coloured and joins in with her friends as they welcome young Shelby (Joanna Robinson) who is having her hair styled in an up-do (yes, really!) for her wedding.

Diane Glover plays her mother, M’Lynn, who is worried for her daughter because Shelby is a diabetic and has been advised not to have children.

The dialogue is snappy and funny as we settle into listening to the comfortable southern Louisiana drawl (kept up excellently by all the cast).

Just when you’re thinking the chitchat is going along nicely, the door bursts open to reveal larger-than-life Ouiser.

It’s no surprise to learn that Susan Hilton is a drama teacher as she comically whirls around the stage giving her part a joyful life of its own.

Act Two finds M’Lynn preparing to donate a kidney to her daughter.

The audience fell almost eerily quiet in the final scene when M’Lynn delivered her moving speech about the outcome.

Excellent set, lovely play, remarkable performances.

Jenny Robson