In rehearsal: Tony Award-winning dark comedy thriller
Tue 4 Oct 2022

In rehearsal: Tony Award-winning dark comedy thriller

On the same day that acclaimed writer Martin McDonagh's new film The Banshees of Inisherin is released, Theatre by the Lake's production of his first play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, written in 1997, opens in Keswick.

‘Sometimes I dream… of anything… anything other than this…’

Leenane, County Galway, 1990. In a remote cottage in the mountains of Connemara, 40 year old Maureen Folan lives with her manipulative and possessive mother, Mag.

Trapped together in a poisonous cycle of daily battles and with endless rain driving at the walls, Maureen dreams of escape. When a chance for happiness arrives in the form of unexpected suitor Pato Dooley, she dares to hope…

But Mag has other ideas and sets in motion a chain of events that build to a terrifying climax…

Hauntingly beautiful and blisteringly funny, this dark comedy thriller comes from the writer of the Golden Globe and Oscar winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and In Bruges.

The play is directed by Theatre by the Lake’s Artistic Director, Liz Stevenson. The four-strong cast, currently in rehearsals, features Elizabeth Appleby, Cillian Ó Gairbhí, Cameron Tharma and Susan Twist.

Susan Twist returns to Theatre by the Lake within the space of a year, after her performance in the theatre’s 2021 reopening production of Home I’m Darling. Susan said: “It’s so wonderful to be back at TBTL. I loved doing Home I’m Darling last year. It’s great to be in such beautiful surroundings too.” Susan plays Mag, the mother in the play. “Mag is incredibly manipulating and is terrified that her daughter, Maureen, will leave her and she’ll be put in a home. They play psychological games with each other with the power shifting from one to the other. Like all brilliant writing the more you delve the more you realise that there is so much more to find.”

Artistic Director, Liz Stevenson, said: “The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a perfect dark-comedy thriller by one of the most successful playwrights of our time. This gripping psychological drama tells the story of a toxic mother-daughter relationship, set in a rural Irish town. I have wanted to direct this play for a long time, and I can’t wait to work with this incredible creative team to make an atmospheric and gripping production that will have everyone on the edge of their seats.”

Download rehearsal images here