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Past Productions

Steel Magnolias

by Robert Harling

The success of Shirley Valentine caught the imagination of a number of local actresses who relished the idea of touring a play with an all female cast, so it was no problem at all to take to the road with a very experienced and accomplished cast in "Steel Magnolias" by Robert Harling.

The play is a remarkable piece in that the two central characters, M'Lynne and Shelby, are in fact portraits of Harling's Mother and sister, and the central event of the play, Shelby's death, is a factual account of the tragedy that befell his family. Harling, who was a young Louisiana lawyer, recorded the events initially without thoughts of publication but friends said that it would make a play. Those friends were right; Steel Magnolias triumphed on Broadway and ran for more than a thousand performances before being made into a successful film.

A scene from Steel Magnolias Set for Steel Magnolias

The Cast

Truvy Lorraine Worrall
Annelle Beverley Meek
Clairee Jeanette Bennett
Shelby Anna Whitney
M'Lynne Sally Lomax
Ouiser Margaret Baldwin

Director: Dave Baldwin

The Crew

Stage Manager Ian Pauley
Sound & Lighting Philip Preston
Assistant Stage Managers Chris Mora
Betty Beddows
Clive Beddows
Jim Jones
Howard Jones
Emily Lomax
Setting Dave Baldwin
Philip Preston
Richard Worrall
Costume Stella Truscott
Geraldine Rees
Voice Coach Annette O'Hara
Front of House Jackie Cogswell
Katie Cogswell
Maureen Baker

Our thanks to Perfect Measure, Peter Charles, Suzannes and Red's Hair of Ross-on-Wye and Utopia of Coleford for the loan of salon equipment.

14th - 15th January 2005 The Powell Theatre, Hereford
28th - 29th January 2005 Bishops Frome Village Centre
4th - 5th February 2005 Fownhope New Memorial Hall
25th - 26th February 2005 Forest Theatre, Coleford
4th - 5th March 2005 Weobley Village Hall
11th - 12th March 2005 The Savoy Theatre, Monmouth

Jonathan Legg

AMBITION PAYS OFF FOR COMPANY

"Steel Magnolias, the latest touring production from BareBones Theatre Company, is delivered in a very professional manner. Written by Robert Harlin, the play is set in a fictional Louisiana town, where we follow the lives of six women who frequent a small-town beauty parlour. Anyone familiar with the 1987 film version with Julia Roberts will know it is advisable to bring along a large box of tissues, because both the storyline and the performances will draw tears from even the most cynical eyes. BareBones has stayed true to the ambitious production values that made its last show so impressive. In Shirley Valentine, chips appeared to be fried on stage. That has been topped in Steel Magnolias with a fully functioning hair salon with hot running water. Overall, the cast give powerful performances. Anna Whitney as Shelby, Sally Lomax as her mother M'Lynne, and Loraine Worrall as Truvy stood out within a very strong cast."

Colin Fairbrother, Feb 2005, Fownhope Village magazine - The Flag

STEEL MAGNOLIAS PERFORMED BY THE BAREBONES THEATRE COMPANY

"Regular readers of the Flag may well recall that in October last year the village's Theatre Critic, Michael Best, reviewed the BareBones production of Shirley Valentine. Whilst praising the performances, he bemoaned the fact that audiences on both evenings were disappointingly low. In deed, so low was the attendance that the company had to consider whether they could justify mounting further productions at Fownhope! Fortunately they were swayed by the excellent facilities offered by the Memorial Hall aad the decision was made to include Fownhope in the tour dates for their second production 'Steel Magnolias' performed on Friday and Saturday 4th & 5th February. Their faith was justified and this year the residents of Fownhope deserved hearty congratulations for turning up in numbers to the extent that BareBones were able to display virtual 'House Full' notices for both evenings.

As their name suggests, the company does not attempt to present grand sets but for this production, set in a small American town ladies hairdressing salon, the audience quickly felt the authentic atmosphere created by Dave Baldwin, Philip Preston and Richard Worrall. Indeed, so realistic was the setting that in Scene 1, probably since the famous Mary Martin nightly 'washed that man right out of her hair' in the London production of South Pacific, the Fownhope audience were treated to the sight of one of the cast actually having her hair washed on stage - a rare sight indeed. Out of a cast of six ladies it would be invidious to select individuals because this was essentially a great team effort. That said, it would be wrong not to comment on individual performances. Tbe play was given a strong start by Truvy, (Lorraine Worral), the salon owner. She maintained the strength of her performance throughout and was the foundation stone upon which the edifice was erected. Counter balancing the imposing figure of Truvy was her new assistant Annelle, (Beverley Meek), who displayed an impressive range of acting by transforming herself from a meek, uncertain girl into an ardent and persuasive 'born again Christian'. The two 'grand dames' of the town were Clairee, (Jeanette Bennnett), and Ouiser, (Margaret Baldwin). They started quietly as was their role but as the play developed they both gained in strength and their contribution became very real. Their ability to deliver a cryptic comment without the bitterness of animosity was most effective, particularly when harnessed with their ability to deliver a 'cutting edge' brand of humour. The young bride of the play Shelby, (Anna Whitney), also displayed a wide acting range by convincingly showing the audience her ability to portray a fairly vacuous bride to be, turning into a mature and responsible wife and mother over the course of the period of the play.

Perhaps the plaudits for Saturday evening's performance should go to Sally Lomax who played M'Lynne, Shelby's mother. Nothing in the early part of the play suggested the strength of her acting ability. Her piece de resistance at the climax of the play illustrated her talent in bold relief, which allowed her to explore raw human emotions to the extent that one detected real tears emerging from the eyes of the remainder of the cast (and I suspect from more than one in the audience). Bravo BareBones, we look forward to your next production at Fownhope."

See also

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by Eric Chappell

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Visiting Hour

by Richard Harris

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Gaslight

by Patrick Hamilton

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The Prisoner of Second Avenue

by Neil Simon

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Inspector Drake and the Black Widow

by David Tristram

Toured: July 2014

Deckchairs

by Jean McDonnell

Toured: April 2014

Prescription for Murder

by Norman Robbins

Toured: November 2013

Laying the Ghost

by Simon Williams

Toured: June 2013

Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench

by John A Penzotti

Toured: November 2012

Misery

by Simon Moore

Toured: June-July 2012

Going Straight

by Richard Harris

Toured: March - April 2012

Blithe Spirit

by Noel Coward

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A Month of Sundays

by Bob Larbey

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A Bolt from the Blue

by David Tristram

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One Last Card Trick

by Stewart Permutt

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Heroes

by Gerald Sybleyras translated by Tom Stoppard

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Sylvia

by A R Gurney

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Shakers

by John Godber

Toured:Oct - Nov 2010

The Beach Hut

by Mark Rees

Performed: September 2009

Happy Jack

by John Godber

Toured: June - August 2009

A Delicate Balance

by Edward Albee

Toured: March - April 2009

You're Only Young Twice

by Ron Aldridge

Toured: November 2008

Quartet

by Ronald Harwood

Toured: June - July 2008

Day of Reckoning

by Pam Valentine

Toured: March - April 2005

The Odd Couple (Female Version)

by Neil Simon

Toured: October - November 2007

Faith Healer

by Brian Friel

Toured: July - August 2007

Memory of Water

by Shelagh Stephenson

Toured: March - April 2007

September in the Rain

by John Godber

Toured: Oct-Dec 2006

Educating Rita

by Willy Russell

Toured: July-Sept 2006

The Cemetery Club

by Ivan Menchal

Toured: March-May 2006

Duck Variations & The Problem

by David Mamet & A R Gurney Jnr

Festival: March 2006

Stepping Out

by Richard Harris

Toured: Nov-Dec 2005

Two of a Kind

by Hugh Janes

Toured: Jun-Aug 2005

Steel Magnolias

by Robert Harling

Toured: Feb-Mar 2005

Shirley Valentine

by Willie Russell

Toured: Sep-Oct 2004