The Beauty Queen of Leenane

When: Feb. 23-March 20 2011

As silly as it sounds, I’m still recovering from seeing The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Playwright Martin MacDonagh’s Ireland is peopled by bleak, savage characters that don’t thrive, only survive. (And not all of them survive!) Seeing this play is a disturbing experience, as it is filled with haunting brutality alleviated by moments of nerve-induced laughter. Laura de Cateret is wonderful as the downtrodden daughter who is shackled to her demanding and manipulative elderly mother (Mary-Colin Chisholm at her chameleon best.) Hugh Thompson is the love interest, and his sweet and understanding character brings much-welcomed tenderness to the play. Beautifully directed by Rosemary Dunsmore (except perhaps for the unnecessary last two minutes…), and boasting a spectacular ruined cottage set by Sean Mulcahy, Beauty Queen is well worth seeing—but only if you’re prepared for a kind of Celtic Black Swan. –Kate Watson

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