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Review: The Beauty Queen of Leenane, at Tower Theatre

In Bruges writer’s claustrophobic portrayal of desolate rural Ireland is darkly comic

07 November, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

WRITTEN by Martin McDonagh, known for directing In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, this dark comedy makes suitable watching on a drizzly autumnal evening.

Produced in 1996, McDonagh’s first play, it is peppered with racist attitudes towards the Irish at the time with mention of “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish.”

This production, directed by Colette Dockery, is timely as voters are preparing to place their vote at poll stations next month, the question of England’s relationship with Europe looming overhead.

We meet Maureen, in her 40s, living with her 70-year-old mother – the power play between them provides laughter, tension and even horror.

It is a claustrophobic portrayal of desolate rural Ireland, suitable for the rooftop of the Tower Theatre, which found its new Stoke Newington home this year.

With mention of outside worlds including London, Leeds and Boston, the play explores Maureen’s barriers between her life living in Leenane and a new life for herself.

Until November 16
020 7353 1700


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