Many of Martin McDonagh’s plays are deliciously dark, allowing for an interpreted emphasis on the funny in the black comedy. For many people, In Bruges exposed them the work of this Irish playwright, in which Colin Farrell gave a stand out performance as the wimpy hitman.
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE ventures into a much darker, melodramatic arena and Kitchen Dog Theater plumbs the violent depths of the work with superb acting and spot-on direction.
Centered on the middle-aged Irish woman Maureen Folan, this tale of claustrophobic crazy is a brutal two-hour story of hopelessness. But worth every second.
A competition in browbeating, Nancy Sherrard as Mag Folan and Karen Parrish as daughter Maureen, give shudder-worthy performances – a high compliment in this play. The other characters in the show offer a gentle relief – Scott Latham gives a sweet performance as the wholesome Pato Dooley, suitor of Maureen. And Drew Wall shines with his recognizable half-hearted humor as the 19-year-old Ray Dooley.
The Folans live in a small cottage littered with boxes of perishable foods and covered in grime. Clare Floyd DeVries’ set is a masterpiece of mess, which owes a necessary nod to Jen Gilson-Gilliam’s props.
Under the handy direction of Cameron Cobb, THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE is grounded with a rich perspective. The characters are grounded in a reality that allows the audience to watch the violent tugs at humanity’s elasticity until someone finally breaks.
In Kitchen Dog Theater’s production, there are no spoilers of what comes next. Life is a matter of perspective and sometimes it is about determining whose perspective is eschewed before it’s too late.
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE runs through December 8. Tickets are $15 - $25. Buy tickets here.