The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Closed 2h 20m
The Beauty Queen of Leenane
86

The Beauty Queen of Leenane NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(105 Reviews)
Positive
96%
Mixed
3%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Intense, Funny

About the Show

Irish theater company Druid makes its BAM debut with a 20th-anniversary revival of Martin McDonagh’s Tony-nominated pitch-black comedy about a very dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship.

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (105)

Sort by:
  • Default
  • Standing in our community
  • Highest first
  • Lowest first
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Only positive
  • Only negative
  • Only mixed
80
Absorbing, Great acting, Interesting, Slow

See it if Dark, sometimes funny. Bleakly claustrophobic. Intense. Riveting acting.

Don't see it if Accents are a big of work at times. Slow. Sometimes obvious. Read more

82
Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing, Resonant

See it if You like dark dysfunctional family dramas, balances comedy/drama nicely. Acting is superb.

Don't see it if You have a hard time understanding thick accents. It's important to be actively listening or you will miss things.

Critic Reviews (34)

The New York Times
January 15th, 2017

"The four characters are more overtly comic than they were before...They’re more companionable than they used to be. That means they’re also less likely to creep into your nightmares and break your heart...You’re more aware of the jokes as jokes, and also of the dramatist’s calculations behind the twists of plot...If this 'Beauty Queen' lacks the power to rattle as its first version did, it still makes for a smooth, easily digested evening’s entertainment."
Read more

Time Out New York
January 14th, 2017

“A solidly entertaining revival. Notable among the cast is Mullen, the original Maureen, now old enough to play the wheedling, malingering Mag. Mullen makes a full meal of her role, which, perversely, grows more pathetic the meaner she gets...With these vibrant, lusty performers at the controls, the grim machinery of McDonagh’s amoral morality tale clicks into place: so ugly you can’t take your eyes off it."
Read more

New York Magazine / Vulture
January 15th, 2017

"'Beauty Queen' may be funny in the way a YouTube video of a man diving into a frozen pool can be, but it’s no comedy. Rather, it exists somewhat beyond our traditional genre definitions, encompassing many of them...For all its laughs it’s also a tragedy, in which even the satisfaction of Maureen’s prime objective fails to make a difference. She just becomes Mag instead of fighting her. Or would if Hines’s generally expert staging didn’t falter slightly in its interpretation of the women."
Read more

New York Daily News
January 14th, 2017

"Nearly two decades since its Broadway debut, Martin McDonagh’s breakthough play retains the power to tickle the funny bone and turn the stomach...The cast grips all of the darkly amusing and dangerous curves in his unflinching story. The riveting Aisling O’Sullivan shades her star turn as the desperate daughter with vulnerability and venom…The play isn’t all that subtle or always easy to watch. But it’s richly theatrical and satisfying. Every beauty queen should age so well."
Read more

Theatermania
January 17th, 2017

"McDonagh's tale still produces the intended gasps 20 years on…Mullen gives an inscrutable and highly realistic performance as Mag…Together, Mag and Maureen make a perfect picture of mother-daughter codependence. Hynes directs the play with special attention to the relationships between characters…'Beauty Queen' has some surprisingly astute things to say about the gulf between desire and responsibility, especially as it pertains to the immigrant experience."
Read more

BroadwayWorld
January 17th, 2017

"An excellent ensemble in a thoroughly engaging bit of storytelling that's both humorous and horrific…The remarkable feat of the writing, direction and acting is that both characters are equal parts repulsive and sympathetic and the conflict is both funny and ugly…Though the playwright describes Maureen as plain-looking, O'Sullivan appears on stage as, by most anyone's standards, a striking beauty, which distracts a bit from the reality of the situation, but she is convincing."
Read more

Lighting & Sound America
January 17th, 2017

“The gasps and shocked laughter happened in all the right places. McDonagh's portrait of boredom, loneliness, and skullduggery in the west of Ireland has lost none of its power to amuse -- and appall...In his first play, McDonagh displays a knack for dramatic construction that some playwrights never achieve…Nobody understands McDonagh's work better than Garry Hynes, who ensures that this production moves confidently to its macabre double-twist ending."
Read more

Theatre is Easy
January 20th, 2017

"Its sad truths and perverse humor have not lost their power…With all the history and success, a ‘Beauty Queen’ revival is a no-brainer. It’s also a must-see…Depressing? Yes, but also grimly hilarious…’Leenane’ allows its characters to do incredibly ugly things, but also creates moments of sincere sweetness between the gasps and the guilty laughs. Just like Mag does to Maureen, the play will toy with your emotions; and just like Maureen with Mag, it’ll stick with you."
Read more

Theater Pizzazz
January 29th, 2017

"As Mag, Marie Mullen is a grotesque (and devilishly funny) 'Mommie Dearest.' Daughter Maureen, played by the feisty Aisling O’Sullivan, gives as good as she gets...Garry Hynes’s meticulous direction distinguishes her as the authoritative interpreter of McDonagh’s work...Above all, McDonagh’s wicked sense of black humor and his ability to create colorful characters are the talents that distinguish him as one of the most successful playwrights of his generation."
Read more

CurtainUp
January 16th, 2017

"McDonagh's writing is filled with suspense and nail-biting moments; and this excellent four-member cast makes good use of the theatrical zigs and zags he gives them...The size of the playing area permits—and, perhaps, encourages—the performers to take on a collective style that's broader, more comedic, and altogether less intense than in the earlier version...The war between the Folan women is likely to find a prominent place among audiences' theatergoing memories."
Read more

Front Mezz Junkies
January 16th, 2017

“As riveting as ever. Maybe, this time around it’s even funnier and less oppressive than what I remember but without losing one shade of darkness...The brilliance of McDonagh’s writing is that it has the perfect balance of humor and darkness, rolled up and seconds apart. I had forgotten how this play wraps up in the end and found myself as shocked as everyone else. ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ packs a powerful punch in the end, even after all the laughs.”
Read more

Exeunt Magazine
January 17th, 2017

"A sharp, stellar production...McDonagh’s acerbic dialogue pops to life, threatening at all times to maim with its power. The excellent cast proves adroit with such a potent script, and the result is a production that manages to be at once haunting and a whole lot of fun…’Beauty Queen’ is full of McDonagh’s trademark wit and caustic worldview, but this production finds its great strength in the performances at its center…In these experienced and skillful hands, McDonagh’s play bursts to life."
Read more

Theatre's Leiter Side
January 22nd, 2017

"The wonderfully written and performed letter monologue is a highlight, but the contents make instantly clear where the plot will be going. Still, even more egregious tests of credibility and dramaturgic validity lie ahead, especially in the closing minutes and their foreshadowed violence. Nonetheless, McDonagh's ripe, broguish language, his feisty characterizations, and the richly voiced, emotionally honest, and comically vibrant acting, keep you constantly engrossed."
Read more

The Huffington Post
January 14th, 2017

"Laceratingly funny and boisterously vicious…This production is every bit as breathtaking as the original…'Beauty Queen'—with McDonagh’s virtuosic language and Hynes’ remarkable production—remains true…As memorable as Mullen was in 1998, she instantly overtakes herself when the lights come up at BAM. Her Mag is monumental...O’Sullivan gives a matching performance as Maureen...The electricity is so high-voltage that it is as if we received a double clout from the pair.”
Read more

W
January 15th, 2017

"McDonagh is skillful at manipulating an audience. When we’re aware he’s doing it, tension is nonetheless maintained...Aisling O’Sullivan’s Maureen's seduction of Pato is insufficiently desperate...Nor is the end as powerful as it might be...Marty Rea’s Pato Dooley may be the best thing on stage. The actor is straight-from-the-hip credible...Director Garry Hynes is a good hand at visual stage use and pacing. Unfortunately intelligibility is an issue here."
Read more

Financial Times (UK)
January 16th, 2017

"Though the dialogue can sound twee, this plausibly represents pastiche as part of McDonagh’s drive to transform Stage-Irish convention into Grand Guignol nightmare. That vein of macabre fantasy means that though 'Beauty Queen' has already become a period piece, it does not feel dated. And under Garry Hynes’s characteristically forceful direction, the play’s repeated lurches between hope and despair, love and hatred, and wit and misery remain jarringly poignant."
Read more

Off Off Online
January 16th, 2017

"Doesn’t so much confirm that McDonagh’s first hit is a terrific play, but that, like all great plays, it can be done differently, even though the director, Garry Hynes, guided the original...In this production Hynes has brought out more subtly the cruelty and pain in both women...The actors are all superb...There are only a couple quibbles. The Irish accents are really thick, and it’s a struggle to attune one’s ear to them. And an important scene falls flat."
Read more

scribicide
January 19th, 2017

"[W]e are treated to a gorgeous language that possesses more musicality than any by an Irish dramatist since Beckett ... this revival of his first play reminds us that his spirit of rage, anarchism, and gallows humor has burned with consistent intensity for the last twenty years."
Read more

NJ.com
January 16th, 2017

"The show is being revived in stupendous fashion…This is the most assured production of a McDonagh work that I've ever seen…’The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ unfolds with clockwork, almost merciless precision…Credit there to Hynes, who by now clearly understands how to play every moment of this drama for maximum impact, and to this cast, which I think is even stronger than the excellent original troupe. O'Sullivan is devastatingly effective."
Read more

W
January 21st, 2017

"This fierce black comedy is part of a trilogy of plays...All three explore poverty and desperation in Ireland and how it can lead people to turn on each other. But O'Sullivan and Mullen keep the sometimes-grisly events in 'Beauty Queen' from becoming too grim to bear. They both have an undercurrent of vulnerability which keeps them from being pure monsters and instead, explains something about the human condition: we are the way we are because someone taught us to be that way."
Read more

Diandra Reviews it All
January 18th, 2017

"A horrifyingly hilarious play. Laced with wit so dry your laughs will fall like tumbleweeds…The brilliance of 'Beauty Queen' is that it is an extremely sad play whose sadism is veiled in quick sarcasm. It finds its life in the lack of life of its two leads and, if it were not for McDonagh's intelligent writing, one could get lost in the ensuing darkness that develops between Mag and Maureen…I cannot reiterate enough the radiance of O'Sullivan and Mullen as a performing pair."
Read more

Off Script with Dan Dwyer
January 24th, 2017

"In a word, authentic describes Druid’s impeccable revival of Martin McDonagh’s brilliant 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane.' Authenticity, too, applies to the thick Irish accents, which are foreign to this American ear..There’s nothing incomprehensible about the wicked and violent tension between stay-at-home caregiver daughter and iron-willed, bellyaching mother played with perfect timing by Aisling O’Sullivan and Marie Mullen...A masterpiece of modern Irish drama."
Read more

British Theatre Guide
January 15th, 2017

"Perhaps Martin McDonagh’s finest achievement, even beyond a Londoner re-creating a rural Irish milieu to perfection, is his latent ability to balance sympathies between the two leading characters...Do not miss out on a chance to enjoy a slice of recent theatre history and the chance to witness Marie Mullen and Aisling O’Sullivan delivering performances to die for."
Read more

Escape Into Life
February 1st, 2017

"Directed in a subtle, crafty manner and acted with enthusiasm and invention, it’s an affecting, memorable night...Mullen takes the grand risk of being devious and ugly here and while there might be a few too many moments of mugging, there is compelling clarity and strength in the portrayal. As lead Maureen, Aisling O’Sullivan is fiery, brooding, sexy, and amusing...The men give two outstanding, bravura performances."
Read more

Village Voice
January 18th, 2017

"The play is as biting and horrific as ever, but a constriction of energy has settled on the whole affair, leaving it unable to explode the way it needs to….McDonagh's script would succeed in the worst situations; Druid's polished if staid revival hardly fits that description. If the gasps emanating from the audience at 'Beauty Queen's' surprise grisly turn are any indication, a new generation of horrified admirers is now being born—even if this particular show leaves a few goosebumps unraised."
Read more

Slant Magazine
January 19th, 2017

"Aisling O'Sullivan shows off the breadth of her skill. It's a complex role, marinating in fury, luxuriating in fortune, and ending in DuBois-like madness...Marty Rea, as Maureen's love interest, has a giddy and awkward boyish charm that makes him more likable and thus amplifies the tragedy...Mullen is both larger than life and devastatingly human. The overbearing mother is a familiar theatrical trope, and Mullen understands the way McDonagh both embraces and plays on that tradition."
Read more

Paste Magazine
January 16th, 2017

"Has aged well for a four-character, one-room play...The dialogue between Mag and Maureen is rhythmic and their delivery percussive...Marty Rea thrives as Pato Dooley, seizing on each of the most subtle facets of a character single-handedly responsible for the action that results in other characters’ reactions...Direction by Druid Theatre co-founder Garry Hynes gives power to these words, ensuring their import is not only not lost, but accentuated."
Read more

The Hollywood Reporter
November 17th, 2016
For a previous production

"The play has aged like a bottle of fine Irish whiskey, with Hynes returning to the helm and Mullen again starring, in an outstanding production that’s as witty as it is shocking...McDonagh rides an improbable line between sophistication and folksiness, delivering a rare tragedy that contains more laughs than sobs...Good old-fashioned playwriting with crafty setups, gratifying payoffs and, most of all, a sharp grasp of the internal and external conflicts that drive us forward and beat us back."
Read more

Variety
November 20th, 2016
For a previous production

"As McDonagh’s first play, 'Beauty Queen' proves somewhat tamer than those that were to follow, and yet there’s a melancholy to it that feels more sincere than the often ruthless black comedy that would become his trademark. Still, the sinister undercurrent is there, breaking through late in the show with a twist that still manages to shock... Resentment has a long fuse in Leenane, and though McDonagh characters don’t get out much, they have quite a way of solving their own problems."
Read more

L
November 18th, 2016
For a previous production

"The play reveals the author’s relative inexperience through creaky exposition and crude plotting, but it also flaunts his comic audacity and fearless iconoclasm. McDonagh re-creates traditional Irish family drama only to set it ablaze with a postmodern blowtorch...The play still provides a jangly theatrical escape for those who don’t mind when a fable leaves them recoiling."
Read more

Irish Times
September 21st, 2016
For a previous production

"Though director Hynes inscribes funny jokes in the margins, the stately pace of her naturalism seems more deferential, insisting the play has a soul. But it is not a subtle play; gags and intentions are clobbered home. Druid gives it all in a prize production, but the pleasures of the play – symmetry and shock – are the pleasures of pure schlock."
Read more

The Guardian (UK)
October 2nd, 2016
For a previous production

"McDonagh’s situations and characters are rooted in a reality made up of seemingly small, recurring specifics–brand names, soap-opera titles. In a production as stunningly performed as this, the clever patterning of these particularities allows the action to reach extremes of emotion, even horror, without losing an underpinning bassline beat of laughter....Garry Hynes’s direction is so fine it is invisible–as if nothing on the stage could have been other than it is."
Read more

Irish Examiner
September 24th, 2016
For a previous production

"It revels in visceral shocks and baroque comedy, yes, and one or two stereotypes pass by without scrutiny, but the play has a torment in it, too, that flares up in disarming moments, ambushing the spectator....Ultimately, however, the play’s success rests on its perfectly crafted plot and its deranged blending of pathos with piss-take. 'Beauty Queen,' and Druid’s masterly new production makes you laugh until you’re sore. But it leaves you hurting just the same."
Read more

N
October 18th, 2016
For a previous production

"This is McDonagh’s first play and possibly his most powerful...Mullen is a stalwart of the company and appears in much of their work. She is very impressive as the controlling mother, and knows exactly which strings to pull...Those familiar with McDonagh’s oeuvre will know what to expect and it is a dark comedy similar to much of his work...This impressive production has lost none of its impact and will introduce the work to a new generation."
Read more

Watch This Next (3)

83
Great
150+ Reviews
Open run
Six
NYC: Midtown W

An exuberant, pop celebration of 21st century girl power featuring the wives of Henry VIII.

Buy
82
Great
500+ Reviews
Open run
NYC: Midtown W

An actor drinks heavily (think Comedy Central's 'Drunk History') and tries to corral others into enacting a…

Buy
77
Good
131 Reviews
Ends Oct 10
NYC: Midtown W

Following a sold-out run at LCT3, "Pass Over" will come to Broadway for a limited run this August.

Buy