The Beauty Queen of Leenane

Martin McDonagh is the latest Anglo-Irish darling of the theater. His often gruesome plays are funny and real as they bring to life all sorts of monstrous and all-too-human behavior. The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which was nominated for a Tony in 1998, tells what happens to a spinstery virgin and her horrifyingly cruel mother when the 40-year-old daughter finally gets herself a fella. It all takes place in the drab Irish town of Leenane. Don’t look for pretty countryside here. This is a place of small dreams and even smaller chances of seeing those dreams come true. But that doesn’t stop Maureen from longing for the day when she can get out from under the soul-crushing weight of her mother’s constant neediness. When Pato, a sweet Irish man who offers Maureen a chance at love, comes into the picture, all hell breaks loose. Ananka Kohnitz, the director of the production, says, “the story is gripping, the ending is surprising, and the conclusion is stunning.” We can’t think of a better reason to head to the theater. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. June 7. Through June 20. Theatre Southwest 8944-A Clarkcrest. For information, call 713-661-9505 or visit $15.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sun., June 7, 3 p.m. Starts: May 29. Continues through June 20, 2009

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Lee Williams