Fine performances, direction crown 'Beauty Queen of Leenane' at Palm Beach Dramaworks
Palm Beach Dramaworks' production of Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane blends the grubby truculence of David Mamet's plays about American lowlife with the banked horror of an Alfred Hitchcock film. The play is propelled by brilliant performances from Barbara Bradshaw and Kati Brazda and note-perfect direction by William Hayes. ...The male cast members are as fully invested as the women... Kevin Kelly makes an awkwardly lovable Pato, especially in the monologue when Pato recites a letter to Maureen. Blake DeLong charges Ray, Pato's volatile and unreliable brother, with an energy so amped it almost emits sparks. Hayes balances the script's violence with humor and gives all the characters, if not a sympathetic spin, at least a rationale for their behavior. The play's world is as immediate as though we'd stepped into the Folans' kitchen. Beauty Queen is the last production the company will mount at its Banyan Street home. With a multi-layered and smart script and watertight execution the show points to a promising future at the company's new digs in the Cuillo Centre, where it will re-open in November.