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A visit to the hair salon

Only six women feature in Robert Harling's play Steel Magnolias but they each have their own stories going on, says actor Susan Partington.

“There are still jokes we're only getting now,” says Partington, who plays Louisiana town Chinquapin's hair salon owner, Truvy, in Evolution Theatre Company's production of the comedy-drama.

“It's really fun — we have a laugh and even a cry together.”

The play is set entirely in Truvy's Beauty Spot, which puts Partington's character at the heart of the action and chit-chat.

Truvy is a fun role to play, she says.

“She has a lot of the good one liners and a lot of personality but she's also a caring character.

“She owns the salon where the play takes place so all the characters are in her sphere and where they all come back to.

“The women in the small town come and go and get their hair done but it's a social hub too.”

Although Steel Magnolias is an ensemble piece in which there is no main character, the story revolves around Shelby, M'Lynn's daughter. Shelby is about to get married and have a baby so naturally the upcoming wedding is a topic of discussion among the ladies.

But a few plots go on in the play, says Partington.

“Each character has her own arc and Shelby's is one we're particularly following. It's very character-driven in that the play is all about these women and how they relate to one another.

“Truvy is dealing with empty-nest syndrome so when a young beautician comes in she takes her under her wing. Truvy is a mentor to her and their friendship develops. The young beautician becomes a born-again Christian. Truvy doesn't really understand this religious transformation. But that's only a small sub-plot.

“There's a lot going on.”

THE BEAUTY SPOT: Susan Partington (third left) plays Truvy's Beauty Spot owner, Truvy, seen here chatting with actors Iidil Merlini, Scarlett Fawcett, Heidi Rice and Rachel Crawford in a rehearsal for Evolution Theatre Company's production of comedy-drama, Steel Magnolias. Picture supplied