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“Steel Magnolias”

DSC_8430Laughter, smiles and tears at The Prospect Playhouse
By Colin Wilson

I laughed, I smiled (a lot) and I openly and unashamedly wept at the Cayman Drama Society’s latest offering at The Prospect Playhouse, “Steel Magnolias”.

“Steel Magnolias” is a very well known stageplay by Robert Harling and an even more well known movie of the same name that was adapted from the play by Harling and Herbert Ross.

The movie starred Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts.

The CDS’ production “stars” Rebekah Jefferson as Annelle, Kristine Gray as Shelby, Susan Howe as M’Lynn, Teri Lynne as Truv, AliceAnne Brunn as Clairee and Mary Anne Kosa as Ouiser.

The play portrays the experience of the family and friends of the play author Harling following the 1985 death of his sister from diabetic complications after the birth of his namesake nephew and failure of a family member donated kidney. A writer friend continuously encouraged him to write it down in order to come to terms with the experience. He did but originally as a short story for his nephew the latter to get an understanding of the deceased mother. It eventually evolved in ten days to the play I saw last Thursday (6) evening.

The whole of the action takes place in a beauty salon called “Truvy’s” and when the lights came up I expected everyone would clap the amazing set. It is astounding and that is not a word I use lightly. It really is a beauty salon and by all accounts a females only one too.

The title “Steel Magnolias” had me wondering until it dawned – all the females in the play were delicate at times as the magnolia and as tough as steel.

In the PLAYBILL – just like the “proper” theatres dish out – the plot of every scene is given out that I found a little disconcerting. I like to be surprised, and there are some of us who have never seen the play nor the movie before.

However, it doesn’t distract, as it was from the opening scene very obvious that there was going to be a tragedy. The interest was how the five friends were going to deal with it all and we learnt everything about them. That I am not going to give away.

The acting is excellent and it is very difficult to pick out who was best. I am not because everyone as I said was excellent.

But… for me and I am sure on another night others will pick out someone quite different – that is the beauty of theatre and distinguishes it from movies as every performance is different – in the first act Rebekah Jefferson stood out. Even when she was just standing there watching the others take central stage she was always acting. Her facial expressions kept me smiling as they changed perfectly in time with what she was hearing.

In the second act it had to be Susan Howe as the mother having to deal with a tragedy she knew deep in her heart was going to happen. Her scene with Maryann Kosa and AliceAnne Brunn was spell binding. Again I am not going to give it away when it comes but you will know. Absolutely first class.

Kristine Gray as the diabetic daughter provoked in me much sympathy. She wanted love and she wanted independence. And she got love from her mother in the highest way.

I must not forget Teri Lynn who had the most challenging role. She was on the set almost the whole time. It is her shop and she cemented the whole of the drama into a whole. If she had fallen flat in her performance it would have affected the whole play. She didn’t.

I have never understood why opening night is never a sell out. In my home country opening night is always a sell out.  For some perceived notion persons here don’t go to Amateur Theatre because they don’t want to see the fluffs.

They miss the excitement. The nervousness from the cast. Well I have news – there were no notable fluffs.

Well done Peter Kosa, the Director. How he can stay married after having to direct his wife is still a mystery. Not forgetting the often neglected producer, Debbie Hand, who has the job of putting the whole thing together. Stage Manager Pat Stewart and everyone else too many to mention – and yes Peter I have already praised the set design!

DSC_8582Well done. Do not miss “Steel Magnolias”. It is a gem!

Playing every Thu, Fri & Sat for three weeks Feb 6 – 22. All performances commence at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $25 adults and $10 students (17and under).

Purchase tickets at 938-1998 or email: [email protected]

PHOTOS: CDS/Debbie Hand


  1. Excellent review, Mr. Editor! Yes, it’s a gem of a play–I haven’t seen this production because I live in the States, but I played the part of Claree in a production of it on Key Biscayne, Florida and enjoyed the humor and tension of the play immensely! Congratulations to the cast and crew.


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