Lin Sagovsky and Stephanie Beattie in Steel Magnolias

If the line “Laughter through tears is my favourite emotion” makes you nod your head, then you must see the play from which it comes: Robert Harling‘s Steel Magnolias, now revived at the Hope Theatre. If you’ve already seen the 1989 film of the same name, which was released two years after the stage original – you know the one: Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Shirley Maclaine – don’t let that dissuade you, regardless of whether you loved or loathed it.

The play is much different, and much better. It focuses on the relationships between the six ordinary/extraordinary Southern women who congregrate in Truvy’s beauty salon in small-town Louisiana, initially on the day of young Shelby’s wedding. In Matthew Parker‘s sparkling production in the tiny Hope Theatre, you’ll feel like you’re a customer queueing up for the hair dryer, enjoying the banter, feeling the bonds of deep and abiding friendship. The type of friendship that can, and must, get you through the worst of times.

I do not lie when I admit that I was both laughing and crying in nearly equal measure on the night I attended (with the balance tipping towards the former). And much of it thanks to many of these 25 lines, delivered with drawl and panache by the ensemble of women: Stephanie Beattie, Ariel Harrison, Maggie Robson, Lin Sagovsky, Samantha Shellie and Jo Wickham. Scroll down for further on-the-night (or near enough) tweet reactions.

Book your appointment, ladies – and men too! Steel Magnolias continues at the Hope Theatre until 3 September 2016.


25 quotes from Steel Magnolias

  1. 1
  2. “Honey, there is so much static electricity in here, I pick up everything but boys and money.”|

  3. “Do not scrimp on anything. Feel free to use as much hairspray as you like.”

  4. “I like the idea of growing old with somebody.”

  5. 4
  6. “An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure.”

  7. “He’s got good old Southern values: you either shoot it, bury it or marry it.”

  8. “I should have realised Louie had problems when his imaginary playmates wouldn’t play with him.”

  9. 2
  10. “I’m new here and all, but is my life in danger?”

  11. “Things can’t get any worse.”
    “Of course they can.”

  12. “I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

  13. “The nicest thing I can say about her is that all her tattoos are spelt correctly.”

  14. “A lot of mamma’s mental patients are born-again Christians.”

  15.  3

  16. “Empty is the head that wears the crown.” (That’s a beauty queen crown, by the way.)

  17. “Fire batons are not everyone’s cup of tea.”

  18. “Most women look for bathing suits that will lift and separate. I look for ones to divide and conquer. I am built for comfort not for speed.”

  19. “Of course I remember him. He had the longest nose hair in the free world.”

  20. 5

  21. “Ouiser, you’re almost chipper today. Did you run over a small child or something?”

  22. “I’ll write a cheque. I want to support art I just don’t want to see it.”

  23. “I don’t go to the theatre because I can nap for free at home.”

  24. “You are playing hard to get.”
    “At her age, she should be playing beat the clock.”

  25. 6


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