HDS gear up for five-star play

Harrogate Dramatic Scoiety - Richard Naylor, Clare Evans-Argent and Chris Rawson (left to right). 'Picture by Mike Garside.
Harrogate Dramatic Scoiety - Richard Naylor, Clare Evans-Argent and Chris Rawson (left to right). 'Picture by Mike Garside.

AUDIENCES at the opening night next week of The Beauty Queen of Leenane can relish what one national newspaper reviewer described as “a gloriously funny revival of Martin McDonagh’s play which cements his script as a modern classic.”

Opening at Harrogate Studio Theatre next Wednesday, the audiences will be transported to a seedy backwater cottage in Connemara on the west coast of Ireland to savour the black humour of a conniving mother and embittered daughter trapped in a part of Ireland without mod cons in the 1990s and therefore barely altered since the 1950s.

Having won five star reviews during its run at the Young Vic in London, the director of the play for HDS, Stuart Kellett said: “Why go to London when you can see it here in your local theatre? It’s a brilliant play which we are delighted to get the chance to bring to Harrogate audiences.”

In The Beauty Queen of Leenane, the mother Mag, played by Jenny Antram, is obdurate, monstrously manipulative and wallows in self-pity. Her long-suffering daughter, (Clare Evans-Argent) is unloved and unappreciated but gives as good as she gets in the verbal battles with her mother.

Into the scene step two brothers one of whom offers Maureen the chance of escape from twenty years of skivvying. The question is: has she the will to grab the opportunity?

Be warned. There is a riveting denouement to the play which no serious theatre-goer would want to miss.

Kellett’s production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane comes at the end of a particularly active 18 months for him with Harrogate Dramatic Society.

In May 2010 he directed Habeas Corpus on the main stage of Harrogate Theatre and, since then, has taken on demanding parts in Absurd Person Singular (November 2010), Gaslight (May 2011) and Dad’s Army (October 2011).

l The Beauty Queen of Leenane is at Harrogate Studio Theatre from next Wedesnday, December 7 until Saturday, December 10.

Performances begin at 7.45 pm with a Saturday matinee starting at 2.pm.

Tickets are available from the Theatre Box Office (01423 502116) or on-line at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk