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The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Other Plays Paperback – September 8, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375704876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375704871
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

These three plays are set in a town in Galway so blighted by rancor, ignorance, and spite that, as the local priest complains, God Himself seems to have no jurisdiction there.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane portrays ancient, manipulative Mag and her virginal daughter, Maureen, whose mutual loathing may be more durable than any love. In A Skull in Connnemara, Mick Dowd is hired to dig up the bones in the town churchyard, some of which belong to his late and oddly unlamented wife. And the brothers of The Lonesome West have no sooner buried their father than they are resuming the vicious and utterly trivial quarrel that has been the chief activity of their lives.

"[McDonagh is] the most wickedly funny, brilliantly abrasive young dramatist on either side of the Irish Sea.... He is a born storyteller."--New York Times


More About the Author

Martin McDonagh is the author of six plays, including the Tony Award-nominated The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Customer Reviews

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I would recommend reading these plays in order.
Daggie Oh
Very different, unexpected story line....... a good purchase to be read again and again.
elaineoh
This collection of plays by Martin McDonagh is beyond brilliant.
AW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
I haven't seen McDonagh's stuff, but I have read it, and it is indeed brilliant - even if the brilliance begins to grate after six plays written in the exact same manner. It has to be remembered that he grew up in London, because nobody who grew up in Ireland would write quite this way. In fact, plenty of people in Ireland _do_ be talking this way (it's the continuous present tense, used in some rural areas and amongst the urban working class) - they just don't do it quite as intensely, and as often, as he makes out. I believe it's called Creative Exaggeration. As a young Irish playwright, I'm dead jealous, and I would like to make a law against people calling him the best, funniest, whateverest young playwright in Ireland, because nobody's seen the rest of our work yet - but he's onto something, all right. Now let's see what he does next, because surely he can't write the same play _seven_ times.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Justin Mclaughlin on May 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
The best way to sum up Martin McDonagh? Quentin Tarantino meets Edward Albee. All three of these plays, also known as the Leenane trilogy, have several things in common: (1) violence (2) black humor (3) grotesque characters and (4) did I mention violence. Like Tarantino, McDonagh's use of violence is mostly humorous. When Maureen smashes her old mothers head with a fire poker, we laugh. We laugh because the poker has been conversed about at great length, about how it would make a supreme weapon. It displays the Chekov adage perfectly - if you show a gun hanging on the wall in the first act, it better go off in the third. We also laugh because Muareen and her mother are so nasty, so disgusting and despicable that one of them deserves a sweet release. But not all the characters die - some are beaten with shovels, others crashed into walls, others have their heads shot off: and somehow they return, bloodied, confused, but alive, as stupid and indestructible as ever. And at times the violence is not funny, but chillingly cold - like when Maureen burns her mother's hand in boiling oil. We are caught in between, as our laughs melt into gasps.

Juxtaposed to all this violence is an attention to the prosaic. In an instant the characters can go from arguing about the merits of different brands of potato crisps to pointing a gun at one another's head. Very Tarantinoesque. Think of Vince and Jules tucking their guns into their shorts as they leave the diner in their "dork" t-shirts at the end of Pulp Fiction. One of McDonagh's characters blows off his father's head because he makes fun of his haircut. Sure, all this is funny, but I think McDonagh is also trying to show the petty, ignorant absurdity that is the human condition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kealan Patrick Burke on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Martin McDonagh's movies (IN BRUGES, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS), but didn't realize he was a playwright until someone pointed me to this book. After reading it, I'm now just as big a fan of his plays as I am of his films. The three plays featured in TBQOL are interconnected and focus on the locals in the titular town. What appear on the surface to be funny slices of life turn out to be a whole lot more and, as he does in his movies, McDonagh steers the comedy into dark, violent territory. I loved each one of these plays equally and will certainly be seeking out more of his work, whatever the medium.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hibs on February 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
What he does he does well. Lonesome West is outrageous and hilarious and even a "wee bitten" sad. Beauty Queen has plenty of wit and poignant moments as well. But, his main characters aren't people. They're grotesques. The mother in Beauty Queen, the brothers and priest of Lonesome West, pretty much every character in Skull in Connamaragh. You never could confuse these characters with real people, they will always remain characters on stage or on the page. McDonagh and the audience look down on these characters and rightly so, they're psychopaths, freaks. You laugh at them not with them. McDonagh is entertaining and after years of Beckett and Ionesco and other avant garde types, its nice to see some action and a coherent story-line on stage, but there are times when you think that McDonagh is the quivalent of a good pulp writer, somebody along the lines of a Hammett or Chandler or even a Steven King or John Grisham. He writes good stories and is very entertaining, but he is not the kind of writer who will change the way that you look at the world or the way that you perceive yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By elaineoh on October 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Saw this play off Broadway 15 years ago and have never forgotten the intensity and the hold-your-breath, sit-up-straight quality that the actors produced. It is the same, reading this Irish play and in the print medium. It's a classic and has intensified my interest in reading Irish Literature. Very different, unexpected story line....... a good purchase to be read again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Gift For You on July 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
I cannot get enough of Martin McDonagh! I love his plays... so I have a bias in this review.

The 3 plays that come in this book are perfect together as there are character references from each play in the other subsequent plays. You need to start with The Beauty Queen of Leenane in order to catch them all (at least that's what I did). The Beauty Queen was absolutely wonderful! It left me turning the pages til the end. I truly had no idea how it would turn out until I finished the last word... in my opinion this makes a good story, as does a satisying and haunting ending. I would give this a 5 stars out of 5.

A Skull in Connemara was also interesting but I thought it was too short and could have (and should have) kept going. It felt incomplete to me, but I did love what was there. A 3 stars out of 5 because of that. It had a fascinating premise but left me wanting more to the story.

Lastly, Lonesome West, was interesting. Maybe this was part of the ending of "Skull" that should've been there. Nevertheless, it stood on its own and had that edgy, black comedy McDonagh is a master of. 4 out of 5 stars because I did feel unsatisfied by the ending. Again, that's my opinion.

I would recommend getting this trio. If you like McDonagh's work, get The Lieutenant of Inishmore - the best!
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