The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Other Plays Paperback – Sep 8 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Sure, he's a clever storyteller. He fills each of these plays with a witty, self-propelled dialogue, the kind of patter actors love. There's a naughty schoolboy delight in the language. The dialogue is funny and ironic, but often repetitive and monotonous. And, at the end of the day, these plays don't offer much beneath the surface sheen.
Beauty Queen, for example, is about a woman approacing middle-age who, to protect the illusion of her last chance at love, tortures her poor old mum. Knee-jerk theatricality, if you ask me. Where's the insight? the passion? the outrage? In Cripple of Inishmaan, which is not in this collection, but was produced repeatedly in the US a season or so ago, is a larger play that contains the same kind of banter spread among more characters. It's exceptionally hard to make it work in production, mainly because McDonagh substitutes events for action. The play gives a mixed message to the audience, daring you to like the characters but constantly reminding you that the author is ridiculing them.
Of the three McDonagh plays I've seen, the one I thought was most successful was The Lonesome West, which functions on a level much like the others, but has the virtue of being outrageously funny all the way through. Perhaps McDonagh has more invested personally in the sibling rivalry premise: the story rings a little truer and he seems better able to stretch the blarney into a two hour play.
Talented, yes. Prodigy, no. Time will tell whether this angry young man will grow up to be a playwright.
Most recent customer reviews
Although my only knowledge of MM's work comes from seeing a recent production of "The Lonesome West," I would urge you to see/read his work. The man is brilliant! Read morePublished on April 20 2001 by Eileen
Who would have believed that this absurd melodrama would have garnered such critical plaudits? It's reads like Psycho meets Darby O'Gill. Read morePublished on June 1 1999
I have not seen the plays performed, but McDonagh's seering language and strange, fun, repulsive characters make the read worth it for any fan of good, original drama.Published on May 1 1999