Part 1 of The Leenane Trilogy, by Kin Collective
At fortyfivedownstairs, until June 1, 2014
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Part Three: The Lonesome West: Wed June 11-14
The Leenane Trilogy (all 3 plays) on Sundays June 1, 8 & 15 at 1pm-7pm
Full review also published in Herald Sun online on Friday May 30. Probably later in print. KH
Martin McDonagh’s grim comic-tragedy, The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, seethes with the suppressed rage between a controlling mother and her hapless, middle-aged daughter.
In their isolated, dilapidated cottage in Connemara on the windswept, west coast of Ireland, Mag (Noni Hazlehurst) and Maureen (Michala Banas) live out their miserable, repetitive daily life of sniping, cruelty and mutual loathing.
Hazlehurst totally inhabits the manipulative, whining and contrary old harridan, Mag, delivering a superbly nuanced performance that makes us laugh and wince at Mag’s sneering secretiveness and shameless cruelty.
She is compelling as she slumps resentfully in her scruffy chair, sniffing and snooping into Maureen’s business or stumping painfully around her drab and forlorn kitchen domain (design by Casey-Scott Corless).
Banas is assured and convincing as Mag’s peculiar, virginal, spinster daughter, Maureen, gaining our sympathy when her mother mistreats her, our delight when Pato (Linc Hasler) dubs her the Beauty Queen of Leenane, and our disapproval at her brutal taunting of Mag.