The Beauty Queen of Leenane | Northlight Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Beauty Queen of Leenane Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through April 22 2018

Writer-director Martin McDonagh’s first play, originally produced in Galway in 1996, about a mother and daughter locked in a toxic codependent relationship, is witty, brutish, and far too long. Yes, his characters are fascinating and complicated; it’s hard not to be beguiled by the play’s two loathsome/likable leads (ably played here by Wendy Robie and Kate Fry). But the story unfolds way too slowly. McDonagh’s highly repetitive dialogue, punctuated by sudden moments of outrageous violence, only drags things out. This isn't necessarily director B.J. Jones’s fault; I remember repeatedly glancing at my watch 20 years ago when the play was first produced in Chicago at Steppenwolf. And McDonagh’s fondness for squashing all hope for his characters—and for life in general—guarantees you'll leave his play wanting less. —Jack Helbig

Price: $30-$76

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