Steel Magnolias (3 stars)

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 10 Jul

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Steel Magnolias

Robert Harling’s comedy-drama about a group of lifelong female friends in Louisiana has enjoyed endless revivals since its mid-80s premiere, largely thanks to the popularity of the film adaptation, which provided plumb roles for such Hollywood grande dames as Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field. As the play’s action is restricted to a single setting (Truvy’s beauty parlour), where the women come to share their deepest darkest secrets, much of its success depends on the ensemble’s ability to don a Southern accent and deliver Harling’s amusing, sensitively observed script with the required panache.

At times this version, by Upstage Theatre Productions, feels a little under-rehearsed, with the result that attention is diverted from the action, to the dryers and wash basins in the furthest corners of the busy set. Broad humour is derived from the cantankerous rantings of good-hearted grump Ouiser (Toni Frutin), while Carmen Pieraccini brings the right balance of sweetness and headstrong spirit to the role of young mother Shelby, whose medical battles provide the play’s through-line. Harling’s script (and this production) stays just on the right side of mawkish sentimentality, and there’s a nice rapport among the cast, so that the emotional final scene is actually quite moving.

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 10 Jul

Steel Magnolias

Let your emotions run away with themselves as the staff and customers of a Louisiana beauty parlour remain steadfast friends through all their troubles.

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