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Bob Goepfert Reviews "Steel Magnolias" At Curtain Call Theatre

Steel Magnolias at Curtain Call Theatre b- L to R Allison Tebbano, Laura Graer, Cristin Loffredo, Pat Hoffman
Amanda Brinke

LATHAM - It’s hard to knock a play about friendship.   It’s especially difficult when the friends are a group of diverse and decent women living in a small Louisiana town.  They are sweet yet tough, and so local you can almost smell the magnolias outside.

Actually, in “Steel Magnolias,” which is playing at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham through June 24, it’s not magnolias that you might smell, it’s hair spray as the play takes place at a beauty salon located in a converted garage. And it’s set in the 1980s – an era of big hair.

Indeed, the cast deserves special mention as a couple of the women spend a lot of their time styling hair while others sit and have their hair (or wigs) teased and trimmed. All this and delivering lines as well.

But, perhaps, this double duty is really at the heart of why this talented group of individual falls short as an ensemble.   While individual performances clearly define the characters rarely do you become involved with the emotional undercurrents of the play.  You accept what’s going on onstage but rarely do you believe it.

Steel Magnolias” is a play that runs more than 2 ½ hours and in which nothing much happens.   Instead of the fast pace needed to hide that fact, director Cindy Brizzell-Bates permits the performers the indulgence of slow deliveries and punctuating pauses.

However, it all looks good.  Andy Nice designed a functional set that reflects the personality of its brash owner and Sherry Recinella’s costumes are period perfect.

Problems aside, “Steel Magnolia’s” is an indestructible, feel good, sad play that has a strong following.   Those people will enjoy the Curtain Call production.

“Steel Magnolia’s” at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham.  Through June 24.  For tickets and schedule information call 877-7529.

Bob Goepfert is theater reviewer for the Troy Record.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management. 

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