Monday, 26 July 2010

The Beauty Queen of Leenane - a review

BM missed this the first time round 15 years ago, when it made the writer Martin McDonagh a star and led to his subsequent success with "In Bruges" amongst other things.  Anyway, this play is where that success  began and it opened in 1995 at the Royal Court, around the time that another Irish play, "Dancing at Lughnasa" by Brian Friel also took the London stage by storm.  Both came at a time when modern Ireland was riding the Celtic Tiger and loving it; ostentatious consumption was almost de rigeur.  How times have changed.

This a terrific production, in no small part because the malevolent matriarch, Mag Folan is played so beautifully by Rosaleen Linehan, a legend of the Irish theatre.  For those who are interested in these things, Rosaleen is the mother of Graham Linehan, writer of 'Father Ted' and 'The IT crowd'.

Fifteen years ago, many Irish people watching this play would have shrugged off the references to emigration and employment hopelessness, but I was struck watching it, how those issues seem all too relevant today.  I wouldn't wish to leave the impression that it's all doom and gloom - far from it.  It's very, very funny and moving and incredibly tense throughout.

The play is on at the Young Vic until Aug 21st so book now - if there are any tickets left!

I leave you with a photograph of Leenane, not so many miles from where BM grew up, and a place of such utter loveliness that anything else I say will be superfluous.

(Photo: John Miranda 2010)

1 comment:

  1. BM,

    Still picture perfect....