The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a dark comedy (and not because of load-shedding, the theatre’s power back-up kicked in pretty quickly at just after 8pm when the power dropped).
The first production from a new local and international production house, How Now Brown Cow, it promises good things to come.
It’s the story of Maureen, a middle aged Irish woman who is stuck looking after her elderly mother, and who is still trying to find her way in love – and the intricacies of the relationship between the two, how close family members can be driven to madness by each other.
I love a PLAY, as in traditional theatre, where a story is told, without the dazzling special effects, because it relies on the writing and the story telling and the acting. The Beauty Queen of Leenane does just this – although don’t get me wrong! The set and theatre production is great too.
Set in Ireland in 1996, playwright Martin McDonagh’s story is entertaining, quick-witted, shocking in parts and cleverly told. In addition to the mother daughter relationship, it explores subjects such as dependency, mental illness, madness, humour and tragedy and keeps you guessing until the end!
The brothers Pato and Ray help move the story along in fast paced, clever dialogue. As the younger brother, Ray is irascible, energetic, and perhaps a little unreliable. His older brother is seemingly the least insane of the crowd. You are left at times wondering what is real and what isn’t – although, at the end, the pattern of madness and tragedy is clear. The piece is highly emotive and intense in parts.
We were thoroughly entertained by this classy production at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square. Theatre has had such a tough time, what with Covid and load shedding – get out there, be entertained and support this.
Director Charmaine Weir-Smith (The Train Driver) has won multiple awards. She directs a stellar cast including Jennifer Steyn (Recipes for Love and Murder, The Inconvenience Of Wings) as Mag, Julie-Anne McDowell (The Revlon Girl, Couplet) as Maureen, Bryan Hiles (Sweeney Todd, Cabaret) as Pato and Sven Ruygrok (Spud, Abraham Lincoln) as Ray.
I was impressed with the innovative new digital programme, which meant I didn’t have to carry something extra around with me, and I had all the details I needed at the touch of a button.
With Greg King doing set design and Denis Hutchinson on lighting, The Beauty Queen of Leenane will runts until 29 October 2022.
The production carries a suggested age-appropriate restriction of no under 12s.
Get tickets from the website www.theatreonthesquare.co.za or the box office on 011 883 8606 or 083 377 4969.
You can also book on Computicket
For more information, please click on www.hownowbrowncow.co.za