The Beauty Queen of Leenane Review

The Beauty Queen of Leenane - Rosaleen LehihanIf you haven’t had a chance to catch the superb ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ at the Gaiety, now is your last chance as the run ends on June 4th.

Comedy can be really hard to conquer, not everyone is going to laugh at the same things. Within minutes of the play starting, Martin McDonagh’s script had the entire audience laughing. As the play goes on though, it seems that the comedy is there to cover up the disturbing, brutal reality of the situation.

The play is set in 1980’s Galway, in an Ireland obsessed by Australian soaps and focuses on the relationship between Maureen (Derbhle Crotty) a singleton, tipping forty and her eldery but clever deceptive mother, Mag (Rosaleen Lenehan). Maureen longs to break free from her mother’s chains and find herself some romance, while Mag will do everything in her power to keep Maureen right where she is. Enter two local brothers, one to provide comic relief, the other returned from London to pull at Maureen’s heartstrings.

The set design is clever, the living room having a real smoking stove. Everybody of a certain age will remember when every Irish house had a two bar electric heater and a picture of The Kennedys over the fireplace next to the Pope. Rosaleen Lenehan is devine as the devious Mag, as she commands all the attention from poor Maureen. Frank Laverty, who plays the returned Pato, shows a defined elegance in his often tender role. His monologue alone is worth seeing.

While watching, you think you know what way the plot is going, there is a certain familiarity with how this should play out. However, a sense of unease slowly creeps in and turns this comedy into a dark twisted tragedy.

See it before it ends.