'The Beauty Queen of Leenane' by Martin McDonaghDECEMBER 2002
Directed by: Richard Parish
Design by: Michael Clements
Lighting and Sound by: Alex Lyon
Cast: Marie Thurbon, Alison Brooks, David Webb and Thom Gibbons
For a direct link to the GALLERY of PHOTOGRAPHS of this
production CLICK: The Beauty
Queen of Leenane
Set in the mountains of Connemara, County Galway, The Beauty Queen of Leenane tells the darkly comic tale of Maureen Folan, a plain and lonely woman in her early forties, and Mag her manipulative ageing mother whose interference in Maureen's first and potentially last loving relationship sets in motion a train of events that is as gothically funny as it is horrific. The relationship is charted with the blackest of humour, and the baleful silences, festering resentments and moments of virulent spite are all wickedly enjoyable.
REVIEW BY COLIN DOLLEY(G.O.D.A)
A talented new amateur drama society is always to be welcomed and Lighted Fools Theatre Company, who staged their first major production at Guildford last week, is clearly making its mark on the local theatrical scene. For this initial venture they chose Martin McDonagh’s award-winning play. THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE.
Set in remote Ireland, the script leaps from low humour to high drama and makes an ideal choice for the intimate setting of the Bellairs Playhouse. The central theme of the play concerns the suffocating relationship between a demanding old mother and her vulnerable middle-aged daughter, but as staged some of this enervating darkness was missing in both presentation and production. Clearly the company has talented actors but there seemed to be further depths to explore in the key relationship which is at the heart of the play. That said however, Marie Thurbon, using her highly expressive face, made a wonderfully curmudgeonly mother – forever demanding tea and attention. As her frustrated daughter, Alison Brooks gave a full-bloodied performance but missed the desperate yearning and the sheer drudgery of the enforced, lonely existence of this fragile creature. It was David Webb as the object of her affection who gave the production its great strength. With underplayed assurance and easy spontaneity, he gave an object lesson in finding the inner truth of a character; indeed it was a supreme example of the old adage: ‘less means more!” Completing the acting quartet – all of whom delivered very convincing Irish accents – was Thom Gibbons, who created a personable characterisation as the young edgy impatient neighbour.
Although the gradual build-up of seething resentment and sly poisonous hatred needed more subtle shaping, there was much to savour in Richard Parish’s confident direction. It certainly makes the next Lighted Fools production awaited with keen anticipation.
COMMENTS FROM OUR AUDIENCE ON 'THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF
Congratulations on last night's performance! All departments excelled. Lighting: Very atmospheric. Set: Most effective -the dressing especially creative. Acting: A great team hitting professional standard. Direction: Very well moved with great pace and cue bite. What next?
How much we enjoyed the play! Acting excellent. I hope the
Company got the audience it deserves and goes from strength to
Congratulations on the production - we really enjoyed it!
Please let us know when you are putting on another one.
An excellent and professional effort from everyone - front and
The play was excellent. Acting very fluid, accents (to my ear)
very authentic. Very funny in places yet very sad. Interaction
between cast very good. On many occasions holding my breath - the
sense of waiting to see what happens next. All in all very
enjoyable. CONGRATULATIONS! What next?
'Beauty Queen' was excellent - a splendid promise of things to
We very much enjoyed the play if 'enjoyed' is the right
A very clever and thought-provoking play which the production
brought the most out of.
We thoroughly enjoyed 'Beauty Queen' - a brilliant production
- kept us guessing.