Feb 6, 2019
Category: News
Posted by: Keith Nuttall


'ALLO ALLO' directed by Jennie Scott-Reid , to be performed on Friday 31st May, Saturday 1st June and Sunday 2nd June, at Clavering Village Hall

Clavering Players Website

Steel Magnolias (Harling)


This is a 1987 Broadway play, which was made into a movie in 1989. Based on the author's experience with the death of his sister, 'Steel Magnolias' is a comedy-drama about the bond among a group of southern women in northwest Louisiana.

The action centres around Truvy's beauty parlour and the women who regularly gather there. The drama begins on the morning of Shelby's wedding to Jackson and covers events over the next three years; including Shelby's decision to have a child despite having Type 1 diabetes and the complications that result from the decision.

We also get a glimpse of the unlikely friendship between Clairee and Ouiser; Annelle's transformation from a shy, anxious newcomer in town - to a partying woman - then to a religious fundamentalist; and Truvy's   relationships with the men in her family. Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother, and Shelby's medical battles, the underlying group-friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the drama.



Truvy Jones (Owner of the beauty shop)    Sue Clatworthy

Annelle (Beauty shop assistant)                  Sarah Ellis

Claree (Widow of former mayor)                 Jennifer Scott-Reid

Shelby (M'Lynns daughter)                         Issy O'Beirne

M'Lynn (Mother and career woman)            Carole Tedman

Ouiser Boudreaux (Wealthy eccentric)         Patricia Truelove


Director      Ken Kemp


A review by Adrian Grist - 'Refusing to Curl up and Dye'

In the director's note, Ken Kemp explains that Steel Magnolias has no hidden meanings. He adds, it is just a story with a deal of 'native wit and easy conversation'. With this pre-emptive disclaimer in mind, I  was expecting a laid back, easy going play leaving all thoughts suitably unprovoked. At the end of the production by the Clavering Players, I felt that Mr Kemp's comment had only served to lure me into a false sense of security.

Keeping pretty much in line with the 1989 film, it is set in an American beauty parlour in the 80's. We watch on in a voyeuristic manner as the lives of six women not so much unfold, but continue just as they probably  did before we arrived and just as they will after we leave. This was real fly-on-the-wall stuff.

The flow of the dialogue was fundamental to the success of the play, written by Robert Harling, and the all-female cast were faultless, seeming most at the home with the thick deep southern accents they were  required to adopt. Their banter focuses on the wedding and subsequent pregnancy of Shelby (Issy O'Beirne), who has been warned by her doctor that she should not carry a child.

The scenes were crammed with good humour and obscure observations. Referring to the stereotypical husbands' attitude to anything  that moves, we were told 'They either shoot it, stuff it or marry it'. The play  however was more than just tinged with sadness. The untimely death of Shelby and the subsequent  breakdown of her mother, played with real heartfelt emotion by Carole Tedman, bought an unearthly silence to Clavering Village Hall.

Tears of mirth were produced by Truvy Jones (Sue Clatworthy) as the beauty shop owner, who made sure that as the imminent tragedy panned out, the audience was kept in good sprits before the final blow.

The set was convincing - it even had a working shower head -  and the wardrobe, all pink blouses, tight jeans and dungarees, lent the production that final touch of authenticity. One was almost expecting Forest Gump to walk in and ask for a short, back and sides.

Always looking on the bright side of life had never seemed a more poignant sentiment as it did after Thursday’s performance.