Prime Cut to revive McDonagh’s Beauty Queen

Published: 23 May 2023
Reporter: Michael Quinn

Poster image for The Beauty Queen of Leenane Credit: Lyric Theatre, Belfast
Ger Ryan in The Beauty Queen of Leenane Credit: Carrie Davenport
Ger Ryan and Nicky Harley in The Beauty Queen Credit: Carrie Davenport

Belfast’s Lyric Theatre and Prime Cut Productions are to partner for a revival of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Prime Cut’s artistic director Emma Jordan will lead the first production of McDonagh’s 1996 play by a Northern Irish company sine 2009 when it was last staged by the Lyric in Belfast’s Elmwood Hall. It saw Stella McCusker earning an Irish Times Theatre Award for her portrayal of the formidable matriarch, Mag. The London and New York runs of its original production, staged by Druid Theatre, earned it an Olivier Award-nomination and four Tony Awards.

McDonagh has since gone on to become the acclaimed writer and director of The Lieutenant of Inishmore for the stage, and the films Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Banshees of Inisherin.

Set in an isolated Connemara cottage, the cast includes Nicky Harley (recently seen in Something Different and Frankenstein’s Monster is Drunk…) as the titular Maureen, noted stage and screen actress Ger Ryan as her manipulative mother, former RSC-member Caolán Byrne as the amorous interloper, Pato, and the up-and-coming Marty Breen as his sibling companion, Ray.

Ciaran Bagnall provides set and lightning designs, with sound design by Neil Martin and costumes provided by Enda Kenny.

Prime Cut’s Emma Jordan says: “I have adored this play for years and can’t wait to share it with the Lyric’s audience—it’s a rollercoaster of a play; funny and horrific in equal measure”.

Lyric Executive Producer Jimmy Fay commented, “what a pleasure to welcome the brutally brilliant The Beauty Queen of Leenane by the exceptional Martin McDonagh to the Lyric Theatre. Our co-production with Prime Cut Productions is directed by the fantastic Emma Jordan and features an incredibly talented cast and creative team. Audiences will be taken on a journey of biting comedy to gut-wrenching tragedy—not for the faint hearted but nonetheless a classic, timeless tale”.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane opens on May 27 and runs until July 1.

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