About The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Wednesday 28th July 2010

The Beauty Queen of Leenane
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How do you know if a show is any good? Well, sometimes the audience can help you decide, especially if your fellow spectators are vocal in their enthusiasm. Last night, I caught up with Joe Hill-Gibbins’s excellent revival of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane at the Young Vic. It’s a terrific play, and a terrific night at the theatre. Whereas I remember the original 1996 Druid production as claustrophobic, cramped and tight, this time the play is broad, ample and very entertaining. Clearly, the open space of the Young Vic has opened out the play. But what struck me most was the audience response: there was a real ripple of shock when Maureen, the mousy daughter character, appeared on stage in a mini-skirt, and the scene where she tortures her mother drew gasps. The final murder was similarly intense, and got similar gasps of shock. All very satisfying.

© Aleks Sierz

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