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The Rock-itt : October 2009
Steel Magnolias Written by: Robert Harling Starring: Ana Maria Belo, Marian Frizelle, Jennifer Hagan, Debra Lawrance, Geraldine Turner, Jacki Weaver Robert Harling wrote Steel Magnolias as a way of coping with the death of his younger sister who had type 1 Diabetes. This disease is central to the Shelby story but the medical situations are only relevant to America in the 1980s, not Australia in 2009. The story is staged in a beauty salon where six very different women get together to talk and gossip while they are having their hair done. (As Harling states, it's a true story the women are his mother and her friends and he hopes he shows their indomitable spirit.) They support each other in times of pain and sorrow, sometimes with outrageous humour but always with respect and affection. This production showcases six of Australia's finest actors including Jacki Weaver, who haswonaMo best actress award, a Glugs critic award, two AFI awards and two Variety Club awards. Geraldine Turner, who has played in musicals, movies, television, cabaret and made recordings, was awarded the Order Of Australia in 1988. Jennifer Hagen, a Nida Graduate who has performed throughout Australia and directed plays for the past 12 years. In 1991-97 she was acting Tutor at Nida and in 2001 was awarded a Gloria Payten Foundation Fellowship to study theatre in San Francisco and Telaviv. Anne Maria Belo, a Nida graduate has worked in theatre and TV, and in 1977 worked extensively in theatre films and TV. She also tutors in voice at the Monash Academy of Performing Arts. Marian Friizelle, who started acting as a youngster in South Africa moved to Australia at 18 to study at the Actors Centre. These ladies bring solidness to the play which is a bit slow at first but when Geraldine Turner, as the grumpy geezer belts out her one liners, the level rises and the show ignites. She says, "the only reason that people are nice to me is that I have more money than God". The second half runs at a better pace, Jacki Weaver's performance was a little lack lustre but after the show I learnt the reason why. After speaking with Ms Frizelle who told me she was thrilled to be sharing the stage with five amazingly talented women, she also told me the preview the night before had been cancelled because Jacki Weaver was unwell, but like the trooper she is, Jacki was on stage for the first night but had gone home directly after the show. Steel Magnolias will always thrive where people value friendship and kindness. Glen Street Theatre's 2009 Gala Fundraiser Book before 30 September and receive $10 off each ticket! Saturday 31 October BOOK NOW