Steel Magnolias (2 stars)

Play made famous by big-screen adaptation is slight and horribly sentimental

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Steel Magnolias

You should maybe seek a second opinion on this one. Judging by the full house and the warm reception, the Rep’s decision to stage Robert Harling’s play – best known for the big-screen adaptation with Julia Roberts and Dolly Parton – demonstrates a shrewd understanding of its audience. Perhaps it’s only me who struggles to stay interested in the inane dialogue and who squirms at the horrible sentimentality of it all. I’m obviously not the target market.

Those who are, presumably see something I don’t in the meandering chit-chat that characterises the bulk of this bitter-sweet comedy as six women from a provincial town in the Deep South shoot the breeze in a beauty salon. They must enjoy the feeling of female camaraderie, forged over manicures and haircuts in spite of everyone’s cookie little foibles. And they must be taken in by Harling’s heavily signalled story about the fatal consequences of diabetes.

If they do, they’ll appreciate the energy and charm of Jemima Levick’s cast – Ann Louise Ross and Irene Macdougall being particularly strong. For me, though, it’s slight and insipid.

Dundee Rep, until Sat 10 Mar

Steel Magnolias Video Promo

Steel Magnolias

The tale of six small-town American women who regularly meet at Truvy's beauty parlour and whose friendship remains strong throughout all kinds of adversity. Part of Dundee Women's Festival.

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