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The Leenane Trilogy


Thu 29 May 2014, 8:00pm

Where: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne CBD, Victoria

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Full: $36.00
  • Concession/Preview: $28.00
  • Trilogy Sunday (All three shows): $85.00
  • Trilogy Pass (all three plays ex sun): $84.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: pressrelease

Written by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths, The Pillowman)

A trilogy of very, very dark comedies.

The Leenane Trilogy is set in a rural Ireland so blighted by rancor, ignorance and spite, that even the local priest admits ‘God Himself seems to have no jurisdiction here.’ A series of flamboyantly gruesome dark comedies including (in order) The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West, The Leenane Trilogy sees three directors lead three separate casts including some of Australia’s biggest names in stage and television in a very unique setting, bringing to the fortyfivedownstairs stage tales of smashed skulls, matricide and other carefully calibrated outrages from 28 May – 15 June.

Written by Martin McDonagh, ‘one of the most important living playwrights’ (New York Times), The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West are plays with murders apiece, exploring a brutal, utterly unromantic small-town portrayal of Ireland derived from McDonagh’s own complicated relationship with his British and Irish cultural identity.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane portrays ancient, manipulative Mag (Noni Hazlehurst) and her virginal daughter, Maureen (Michala Banas), whose mutual loathing may be more durable than any love; In the second play A Skull in Connemara, Mick Dowd (Chris Bunworth) is hired to dig up the bones of his late wife in the town churchyard; and the brothers of The Lonesome West (Mark Diaco and James O’Connell) have no sooner buried their father than they are resuming the vicious and trivial quarrel that has been the chief focus of their lives.

Described as ‘Quentin Tarantino meets Edward Albee‘, this searing trilogy recaptures the violence, humour and darkness of the Ireland of McDonagh’s childhood. Three plays for an audience who can appreciate pungent comedy and clever dialogue, The Leenane Trilogy are three plays that can stand alone or be enjoyed in marathon form.

In one sense the plays are traditional, harking back to kitchen sink Irish realism of the 1950s in a world of frustrated spinsters, lonely bachelors and spoiled priests, but at the same time Martin McDonagh’s talented hand writes a playful banality into the mundane.

The Leenane Trilogy has garnered many nominations and awards. The Beauty Queen of Leenane won Critic’s Circle Theatre and Drama Desk Awards and was nominated for Tony and Laurence Olivier Awards. A Skull in Connemara was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award and The Lonesome West was nominated for a Tony Award.

Directed (in order of plays) by Declan Eames (The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Neighbours), David Cameron (City Homicide, Stingers) and John Banas (Writer Underbelly, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries).

The Beauty Queen of Leenane performed by Noni Hazlehurst (A Place to Call Home, City Homicide); Michala Banas (Upper Middle Bogan, Winners & Losers, McLeod's Daughters); Linc Hasler (I Love You Too); and Dylan Watson (Unbroken Directed by Angelia Jolie; The Pacific).

A Skull in Connemara performed by Marg Downey (Fast Forward, Kath & Kim); Christopher Bunworth (Winners & Losers, Bed of Roses); Tom Barton (MTC/QTC's Red) and Peter Reid.

The Lonesome West performed by Mark Diaco (Crime and Punishment, Vessel, City Homicide, Doctor Blake); Laura Maitland (The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Yes, Prime Minister); James O'Connell (Neighbours, The Doctor Blake Mysteries); and Dean Cartmel (Underbelly Fat Tony & Co, Underground: The Julian Assange Story).

"[The Leenane Trilogy] has established Mr. McDonagh as the most wickedly funny, brilliantly abrasive young dramatist on either side of the Irish Sea." - The New York Times

"McDonagh's writing is pitiless but compassionate: he casts a cold, hard, but understanding eye on relationships made of mistrust, hesitation, resentment and malevolence.” - Sunday Times (London)