Jay Walkin' Around New Orleans
The Beauty Queen Of Leenane Memorable In Every Way
by Jay Stanley
True Brew has reopened, been refurbished and is presenting Martin McDonagh's Tony Award winning play The Beauty Queen Of Leenane produced by Beefield Productions and Evangeline Theatre Co. It is a comedy about a macabre relationship set in the Irish Town of Leonine, Connemare, County of Galway where McDonagh explores the love and hate between a troubled mother and daughter. His use of the English language and his unconventional set-ups and story between them are captured extremely eloquently by Director Perry Martin. This is McDonagh's first play written before he was 30. This was the first of his plays which I have reviewed. Listening to the superb dialogue and placement of plot lines I look forward to his next play. Martin uses the dialogue to underplay the tension between the two. These two fine tuned actresses display their talents to advantage. You hardly recognize Charlotte Schully as Meg, the old crone who uses the grotesque comedy to her advantage. She is marvelous. Janet Shea's Maureen, the spinster virgin daughter displays acting skills in order to create a child-like, yet older woman who fantasizes about the death of her mother. The two give memorable performances under the compelling direction of Perry Martin.
The two men in the play, Pato (Michael Cahill) and his brother Ray (Barret O'Brien), are used for comic relief and to enhance the story, but both Cahill as Maureen's last chance to get married and O'Brien who is Pato's messenger are equally effective in their roles.
Lance Spellerberg's simple set design of the Irish cottage is very workable on the small True Brew stage. David Guidry's lighting design helps to intensify the many scenes.
This one is a sleeper and should not be missed.