by Robert Harling
The action is set in Truvy's hair salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana, where all the ladies who are 'anybody' come to get their hair done. Helped by her eager new assistant, Annelle (who is not sure if she is married or not), the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town's rich curmudgeon, Ouiser ('I'm not crazy I've just been in a bad mood for forty years'); an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee, who has a raging sweet tooth; and the local social leader, M'lynn, whose daughter Shelby (the prettiest girl in town) is about to marry a 'good ole boy'.
Filled with hilarious repartee and not a few acerbic but humorously revealing verbal collisions, the play moves toward tragedy when Shelby, a diabetic, risks pregnancy and forfeits her life. The sudden realisation of their own mortality affects the others, but also draws on the underlying strength, and love, which give the play, and its characters the special quality to make them truly touching, funny and marvellously amiable company in good times and bad.