(Dominic Cavendish’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 7/28.)
If you’ve seen it before, you must see it again. If you’ve never seen it before – and a whole generation, “babbies” at the time Martin McDonagh’s debut premiered at the Royal Court Upstairs in 1996, is now ripe and ready for it – you’re in for a treat.
Joe Hill-Gibbins’s gloriously funny, near-flawless revival of The Beauty Queen of Leenane at the Young Vic confirms what many felt about the play back then – that here, breathtakingly, from an unknown youth of 25, was a modern classic.
“Modern” one uses advisedly. The chief audacity of the piece is that it sacrilegiously shows us an Ireland – backwater Connemara – barely altered since the Fifties, if not another half-century before that: a tumbledown cottage, bejaysus, presided over by an immobile old crone called Mag, who’s tended to with manifest (bordering on murderous) reluctance by daughter Maureen, all grown up with nowhere to go.