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I am one of those attenuate souls who knows “Steel Magnolias” as a date comedy bigger than the 1989 cine adaptation starring Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis. The comedy additionally aggressive a bootless TV pilot and 2012 TV-movie accommodate (with an African-American cast).

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For those who are added accustomed with the silver-screen “Steel Magnolias,” accept this: Robert Harling’s aboriginal comedy has one set — Truvy’s adorableness salon — and a six-person, all-female cast. It is a safe haven, a bankrupt universe. When these women accuse about their shiftless, amateur or criminally absorbed spouses, those accidental louts are boilerplate to be apparent onstage. These are bemused conversations conducted in confidence, abaft altar doors through which men never pass.

Meredith Atkinson

M’Lynn (Jeannie Hines, center) comforts her babe Shelby (Susan Slotoroff, right) as salon buyer Truly (Jill Taylor Anthony) looks on in “Steel Magnolias.”

M’Lynn (Jeannie Hines, center) comforts her babe Shelby (Susan Slotoroff, right) as salon buyer Truly (Jill Taylor Anthony) looks on in “Steel Magnolias.” (Meredith Atkinson)

That makes for an absorbing play, on the beautified face of it. The show’s soap-operatic subplots are lived, or artlessly accounted about, by salon buyer Truvy; her new agent Annelle; their longterm audience Clairee (the wife of a bounded politician), M’Lynn Eatenton and her babe Shelby; and the sharp-tongued, affluent Ouiser. The characters accept their joys and anguishes, ambulatory about anniversary added with words of abutment that can appear off as both affected and sassy.

Much of the chat consists of one-liners that don’t anguish about captivation up the narrative:

“Honey, it’s the ’80s. If you can accomplish puberty, you can accomplish a past.”

“I affiance that my claimed tragedy will not baffle with my adeptness to do acceptable hair.”

“There’s no such affair as accustomed beauty.”

West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park, usually reliable with boilerplate melodramas such as this, falters with a assembly that artlessly does not actualize the atmosphere and association spirit capital to this Southern-charmed script. The accents are inconsistent, the characters don’t assume all that abutting to anniversary added and the adorableness boutique bound are not convincing.

Meredith Atkinson

Susan Slotoroff (in foreground, right) as Shelby and Dorothy Stanley as Clairee in “Steel Magnolias” at Playhouse on Park.

Susan Slotoroff (in foreground, right) as Shelby and Dorothy Stanley as Clairee in “Steel Magnolias” at Playhouse on Park. (Meredith Atkinson)

The acting styles can assume worlds apart. Jill Taylor Anthony underplays as Truvy, while Peggy Cosgrave brings vaudevillian abstract to Ouiser. Somewhere in the average are the august Dorothy Stanley (the Broadway adept who additionally happens to be a West Hartford native) as Clairee, Liza Couser as a acquiescently clumsy Annelle, Susan Slotoroff as the acute newlywed Shelby and Jeannie Hines as a M’Lynn addled with alarming revelations.

Hines’ big address abreast the end of the comedy is acutely powerful, but stylistically it emerges from nowhere. The all-important affecting background has not been congenital by a assembly that seems agreeable to coast from one smile-inducing acknowledgment to the next.

Friday’s aperture night achievement acquainted berserk off balance, sometimes actually so. A salon armchair about angled over while M’Lynn was sitting in it. Annelle tripped over an electrical cord. Props were dropped. The performers alone a lot of curve as well, and these flubs are all the added apparent in a comedy that is meant to be so communicative and intimate.

Director Susan Haefner, alive a ample date area, chooses to array the characters calm in huddles so bound that it’s adamantine to bulk out what’s activity on in there, afresh advance them out afresh so that they’re shouting from beyond the date at anniversary other. Hugs happen, but the actors sometimes accept to airing a continued way to bear them.

All these heartwarming clinches, and all the accidental chatter, prolong an already diffuse play. “Steel Magnolia” clocks in at about two and a bisected hours — maybe a appropriate bulk of time if you’re accepting your beard done, but boxy if you’re watching somebody abroad do theirs.

In all likelihood, as “Steel Magnolias” settles into its run, the casting will adhere and the affecting moments could activate to authority their own adjoin the one-liners and afterimage gags. Until then, animate yourself for a beard analysis that’s still setting.

STEEL MAGNOLIAS plays through Jan. 28 at Playhouse on Park, 244 Park Road, West Hartford. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.; additional an added matinee Tuesday Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $40, $22.50 for the Jan. 23 matinee. 860-523-5900 and playhouseonpark.org.

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