KEYSER, W.Va. — As someone who has never been to the Indie on Main, I am thoroughly impressed with the production of "Steel Magnolias" that this quaint art house put on.
If you were a fan of the theatrical film version, like I am, you know going into a live performance that there are multiple ways that this set design can be done. I was tickled to see that the set design for this production was absolutely simplistic and brilliant. At one point during this production the character of Ouiser (Dannie Acord) mentions finding out what color palette her season is; the rotating ensemble costumes portray the seasons of this delightful production. It is a brilliant way to set the scene without messy set changes and a staff of stage hands.
The role of Truvy (Carrie Wolford) commands the stage with her know-how and Southern charm. The epicenter of this performance is the camaraderie of the characters as they frequent the salon. The director plays with the proper Southern housewife role, against the ever-changing, strong, feminine role of women in the South.
The enchanted banter of the hair salon was not only reminiscent of the film version of this performance, but also reminiscent of any salon that you would walk into at any point in time. I was captivated from the house lights dimming to the curtain call. The only difference between a modern day salon and this particular point in time is that the actors executed Southern charm and hospitality to a “T.” From the witty euphemisms, to their accents, these actors were right on the nose with my expectations of the women in the salon.
Throughout every scene the banter was clever and well-executed. I would also note that as a dress rehearsal, there will always be small mistakes and timing issues as this is the first run through of the entire performance in front of an audience. The actors in this performance were flawless and ad-libbed beautifully when something would go aloof. Their comedic timing and snarky remarks added to the authenticity of the performance as a whole. I laughed out loud several times at not just the written dialogue, but the dialogue created by the actors in the moment.
In the final scene, or “season” of the performance, the character of M’Lynn (Danise Whitlock) took on a whole new depth that can only be described as genuine and heartfelt. I was enthralled in the level of conviction, dedication, and authenticity this actor portrayed, having lost her daughter. I felt it in my heart (as well as the welling in my eyes) the feelings of what she felt. It is rare to find that caliber of dedication to a character in small local theater.
As a whole this production was nothing short of astounding and I would gladly recommend experiencing it. This is local theater at its finest core and it was nothing short of magical.
“Steel Magnolias” will continue June 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. and June 16 2 p.m.
The Indie on Main is located at 15 N. Main St.