Faye Stevenson

The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Young Vic

The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a 1996 piece written by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh is being revived at the Young Vic this summer.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Young Vic
David Ganly (Pato Dooley); Susan Lynch (Maureen Folan) [Photo: Keith Pattison]

It is set in the mountains of Connemara in the county of Galaway and follows Maureen Folan, a lonely spinster who has to look after her manipulative and interfering mother Mag.

Mag's interference in Maureen's first chance of a loving relationship sets in motion the train of events that leads to the plays grim ending.

The play takes place in the Folan cottage, a dimly lit space that is going mouldy which lends itself to the feeling of imprisonment and claustrophobia.

Also the use of areas that are barely seen such as the patch of grass at the back and the walls of water that pour as you take your seat build the atmosphere and create the right feeling for the black comedy.

The cast is of a high calibre as two of Ireland's most eminent actors -Susan Lynch and Rosaleen Linehan – take the female roles

As a cast of four, they all gave good performances with the relationships they were portraying being believable.

The first half of this play is very funny which you are glad of as it takes a somewhat darker route in the second half but the lengthy spaces between each scene stops the momentum of the performance slightly.

If a good play is measured by an audience's reaction then this is one, as we all laughed together many times and gasped together at the blatant and implied violence of it all.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a very dark comedy but is definitely a night of quality theatre.

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