Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Beauty Queen of Leenane

I am a huge fan of Martin McDonagh's work and if anything he wrote ever appears in Dublin I'm there. Meself and himself went to see the Beauty Queen of Leenane in the Gaiety last night.

We left the car on the northside of the city and ambled across town at our leisure. We had been worried about parking restrictions because the other Queen - herself from England- is in town. The city looked really well, maybe we should have royal visitors more regularly - the pictures being beamed out all over the world will certainly look great. Lets hope it imports lorry-loads of tourists with nice tourist Euro to spend in our benighted little island. We're rarely in the city anymore and it was lovely to stroll down O'Connell Street, over the bridge then up past Trinity and up Grafton Street. There was precious little traffic and lots of people were doing as we were - ambling, looking and listening.

The theatre wasn't full but it was a Wednesday night and the Gaiety is a big space to fill. The set was brilliant, the main living area of a cottage in Leenane in Connemara, complete with sound effect of a stream constantly burbling outside. I love Leenane, one of the best days I ever spent was on a boat in Killary Harbour with Jemser, sons#1 and 2 and 2 nephews. My favourite photo of Jemser was taken there, he was leaning on the rail of the boat, pint of Guinness in one hand and fag in the other, chilled beyond belief. We ended up back in the pub in Leenane where Jemser duly sang a song to the mortification of the children! So I have very happy memories of the area.

This production of the play is a young Vic production and a fine production it is too. I'm not a purist - there are those who claim that only Druid can get McDonagh or Synge right- Druid are indeed superb with these works but there is plenty of room for others to showcase McDonagh's work. The performances were all spot on. I loved Rosaleen Linehan's Mag Folan ( although I must admit when I think of the character it is Anna Manahan I will forever see) Johnny Ward was a suitably jumpy and impatient Ray Dooley - full of the self importance and ego of youth. Frank Laverty caught the pathos of Pato perfectly. My heart wept for the man and his missed opportunities. The tension between himself and Derbhle Crotty's Maureen was palpable, a finely tuned balance of comedy, passion, desire and sheer bloody sadness.

But it is Derbhle Crotty's Maureen Folan that stole the show for me. She was fabulous. I saw her in 'The Field' earlier in the year and she stole that show too. Ms Crotty is at the top of her game at the moment and from her slight form and superb voice she portrays passion, frustration, sarcasm, violence and great tenderness with apparent ease. A really fine performance and she interprets McDonagh's work in a manner I think would please him.

The only thing that jarred for me in the play was the lack of the Sacred Heart lamp! There was a big crucifix over the mantle, maybe the Lamps were in the upper (or lower) rooms in Leenane!

A'must-see' if you haven't already done so.

No comments:

Post a Comment