In a cramped, dismal cottage on the Galway–Mayo border, the theatre’s most poisonous mother–daughter relationship since Electra battled Clytemnestra is being played out on the stage of the Roslyn Packer Theatre.
The Beauty Queen of Leenane is Martin McDonagh’s first and most performed play. Premièred in 1996 when McDonagh was still in his twenties, the play toured Ireland, moved on to London’s West End and later Broadway, gathering a swath of awards. The Sydney Theatre Company had for some time been trying to engage Rebel Wilson, and when she suggested McDonagh’s play they agreed. Wilson dropped out in the early stages of planning. Nevertheless, on paper the STC has put together a strong cast and production team. Why then is the result less than the triumph one might have expected?