• 68°

Steel Magnolias showcases talented cast

Reviewed by Jeanette Boehme

 Orange Community Players’ latest offering is one of the best non-musicals they have ever done. Steel Magnolias, directed by veteran Diana Hill, is amazing and has a terrific cast. They are so good that the audience forgets that it is watching an amateur performance. Each actor assumes her character’s persona beautifully.

The plot is well known. Six Southern ladies meet every Saturday in a beauty salon for dyes, dos, and drama. The action follows the prettiest girl in town, Shelby, as she is married, has a child, and suffers badly from health issues. The women give each other emotional support and advice through times of joy and loss. The dialogue is sprinkled with hilarious quips and interaction. Actually, the play is based on a real life family in Louisiana and the author is the brother of Shelby, Robert Harling.

Standout new actor to OCP is Emily Buesing as Shelby. Emily is 19 years old and turns in a touching, lovely portrayal. She has great stage presence and all eyes are on her whenever she is on stage. A new OCP star is born. Kudos to Emily!

Delivering an outstanding performance is Keri Foreman as the salon proprietor, Truvy Jones. She injects plenty of Southern-fried energy into her role as the hair stylist with a warm heart and quick comebacks.

Shelby’s mother, M’Lynn, is portrayed by veteran actress, Janet Bland. M’Lynn has to deal with a devastating tragedy without ever slipping into hysterics or maudlin sentimentality. She delivers powerful moments, earning the title, “Steel Magnolia”, strong as steel but tender as magnolias. Great job, as usual, Janet.

Another new actress to OCP is Maggie Larson as Annelle. She turns in a terrific performance as the young, quirky runaway wife who becomes a born-again Christian. Only 17 years old, Maggie drove from China, Texas, every night for practice. She plays the wistful, sweet new hair stylist with aplomb.

Veteran actress Tanya Guillotte plays Clairee, wealthy widow and prominent citizen. She has some great lines in the play and delivers them with pizazz. The music played in the intermission is Tanya herself singing on a CD she has made.

Scene stealer is the multi-talented Laura Bergeaux, as the irascible curmudgeon Ouiser Boudreaux. She takes over the stage whenever she enters and delivers her lines perfectly. Bravo Laura!

The set is very well done and it is mesmerizing to watch the ladies actually get their hair washed, set, teased, and styled on stage. Come join the ladies as they gossip and bond at Truvy’s Beauty Salon.

Steel Magnolias can be seen February 13, 18, 19, 20 at 7:37 P.M., and February 14 and 21 at 2:37 P.M. General admissions $15 adults, $10 students. Reservations can be made at 409-882-9137 or www.orangecommunityplayers.com