Going to see one of my favorite films on the stage in play was quite a strange experience as I really wasn’t sure how they would pull it off. I have to say I was very impressed with the method in which they do this, having only one setting. That being the beauty salon which worked extremely well. With just having one setting it was extremely important that the acting was brilliant, the change of time and events had to be shown from the characters reactions and how they felt.
It must be difficult to take characters who are so well-known and loved and make them your own on the stage night after night. But I think the cast they put together for this UK Tour done a fantastic job in just that. I thought the accents were very very good, a deep south accent must be a rather difficult one to learn and master. Although I am sure people who know more about that accent would probably have some issues but sounded very convincing to me.
The cast of Kacey Ainsworth (Annelle), Isla Blair (M’Lynn), Cheryl Campbell (Ouiser), Cherie Lunghi (Clairee), Sadie Pickering (Shelby) and Denise Welch (Truvy), some of these actresses I have seen on TV in different shows which I think makes it all more interesting in seeing how they are going to perform on the stage.
Kacey Ainsworth as Annelle really was such brilliant casting, being able to easily take on the nervous and scared character traits in an easy and convincing manner. Bringing the audience plenty of laughs in the process.
Isla Blair as M’Lynn has to be the most difficult and emotionally draining parts to take on this play. The mother of Shelby has to go through so many different emotions during the course of the play. Happy with wedding, mad/upset when Shelby gets pregnant and then dealing with the death of her daughter. I thought Blair’s acting was just brilliant especially with the scene where she admits that she cannot cope with it all.
Cheryl Campbell as Ouiser was probably my favorite out of all the actresses, she was just so funny but managed to show her nice side towards the end. Campbell’s laugh was really infectious and kept the audience laughing long after she had stopped.
Cheri Lunghi as Clairee was just brilliant in making with smile while watching her. Quite funny that I knew her best from the Kenco adverts that used to be on TV years ago. But I thought she held everyone together very well and had brilliant stage presence.
Sadie Pickering as Shelby, the youngest member of the cast by many years really gave her all and played the role with such enthusiasm which was brilliant to watch. She was young and had so much hope for her life, despite having a very bad form of diabetes. Taking her illness in her stride we cannot help but love her love for life. This was brought across so well in the performance.
Denise Welch as Truvy, now this is the most well-known actress to myself from the play. As I have followed her very closely over the years being a fellow Geordie. Probably most known for being on Loose Women in recent years, but I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Welch in this role. She was just brilliant, so very talented with different accents and this showed even more in this role with the difficult Southern accent. Very well cast for the role with some of the lines she had to delivery throughout.
I really did enjoy the experience of seeing this story as a play and being in the second row of the stalls gave me such a good view and being so close to all of the laughs and dramas to unfold. The power of the acting and emotional moments, along with the laughter really confirms that this is the funniest play to ever make you cry. The crying from the actresses was just brilliant and must have made the entire audience have tears in their eyes and a lump in their throat!
To see where else you can catch the play check out this website – http://www.davidianproductions.com/shows/steel-magnolias/