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Masterful thriller play by writer of Three Billboards and In Bruges to show at Queen's Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 October 2019

Siobhan O'Kelly and Nicholas Boulton in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian Hodgson

Siobhan O'Kelly and Nicholas Boulton in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian Hodgson

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A complicated relationship between a mother and her daughter is the driving force of a dark comedy play which will soon be showing in Hornchurch.

Siobhan O'Kelly and Maggie McCarthy in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian HodgsonSiobhan O'Kelly and Maggie McCarthy in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian Hodgson

Queen's Theatre and Hull Truck Theatre have come together to produce Martin McDonagh's play The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

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, Maureen dreams of escape.

When a chance for happiness arrives in the form of unexpected suitor Pato Dooley, Maureen starts to hope for a new life.

Siobhan O'Kelly takes on the lead role of Maureen alongside her co-star Maggie McCarthy as her scheming mother, Mag.

Siobhan O'Kelly in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian HodgsonSiobhan O'Kelly in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian Hodgson

Since the beginning of the October the actors have been performing the play at the Hull Truck Theatre in Hull. Siobhan said: "It's gone really well so far. The audience seems to like it and we've generally had great reviews which we're really thrilled about."

The actor described her character as someone who is very fond of her mother.

"She left Leenane when she was 25 and went to Leeds where something awful happened to her," said Siobhan. "She's someone who hasn't really lived and when she tried to do something in her life, it backfired.

Maggie added that her character relies heavily on her daughter.

Lawrence Pybus and Maggie McCarthy in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian HodgsonLawrence Pybus and Maggie McCarthy in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian Hodgson

"She's very old. It's the problem that we have when you get to my age - your horizons become very small," said Maggie.

Despite the show's dark themes, Maggie explained that the play has plenty of humorous moments to offer its audience.

She said: "There's a lot of comedy in it, but it's also a beautiful story about the relationships between the characters. There's the relationship between Maureen and Mag and as the story unfolds there's somebody else who comes along and upsets things."

The play is set in the rural environment of Leenane, County Galway in 1990.

Siobhan O'Kelly and Nicholas Boulton in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian HodgsonSiobhan O'Kelly and Nicholas Boulton in The Beauty Queen of Leenane which will soon be showing at Hornchurch's Queen's Theatre. Picture: Ian Hodgson

Siobhan is originally from the west of Ireland and yet she still had to put on an accent for the play.

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"My village is about 30 minutes from Leenane and I know the area very well," said Siobhan.

"It's a gorgeous, spectacular place, in the wild of Connemara. The characters live in a small cottage where it's very rural. The way they speak in this play is very different to the way I speak.

"There's a specific rhythm to the dialect which is actually quite different to the rest of Ireland.

"It's a particular accent, very earthy sounding and we really have to chew our words."

Martin McDonagh is the writer of the Golden Globe and Oscar-winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and In Bruges.

Maggie said the Queen of Leenane shared some similarities with the film In Bruges.

"They're both very funny, but it's quite visceral at the same time," said Maggie.

Siobhan added: "It's a masterful play and a great night out.

"The audience is in for a treat because you don't expect what happens to happen.

"There's also a great love story which has a brief moment of existence. It's a great mix of tragedy, love and comedy."

The play is directed by Hull Truck Theatre's artistic director Mark Babych and he is assisted by Maureen Lennon.

Mark said: "We are thrilled to be working with the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch again and I know that the company are really looking forward to sharing this wonderful story with audiences there after its run in Hull.

"The Hired Man was such a great experience for us that we jumped at the chance of working together on The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

"Our production and creative teams have been working closely together to ensure that audiences get the richest possible experience in both our theatres."

The Beauty Queen of Leenane will be showing at the Queen's Theatre in Billet Lane from Wednesday, October 30 to Saturday, November 16.

Visit queens-theatre.co.uk or call 01708 443333 for tickets.

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