By Jeanné McCartin
“Steel Magnolias,” that rare, all-female cast, pro-friendship production, is on stage at Seacoast Repertory Theatre through June 1.
It has a flawless set, interesting costume plot, largely superb performances, and while it has a slow start, it finishes strong.
The touching story is both hilarious and heartbreaking. It first premiered as a play in 1987, and was adapted into a film in 1989.
The setting is Trudy’s home-based beauty shop, always on a Saturday, the day the owner reserves for her neighbors, a collective of friends. It opens with everyone prepping for Shelby’s wedding. Shelby’s the youngest of the six.
During the session, Shelby, a diabetic, has a health scare. M’Lynn, her mom, handles it with the ease of practice, and the controlled disquiet of insight.
During the morning, it’s revealed Shelby’s doctor has cautioned her against having children, due to the severity of her diabetes.
We follow the lives of these six women – M’Lynn and Shelby’s tale central – through select Saturdays over the course of a few years. As time passes, tragedy strikes, and the purpose and importance of the women’s Saturday ritual becomes profoundly apparent.
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