HDS set for powerful black comedy

Harrogate Dramatic Scoiety.
Harrogate Dramatic Scoiety.

A COMPLEX and dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship is at the heart of The Harrogate Dramatic Society’s latest production.

Set in Connemara on the west coast of Ireland, The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a black comedy by playwright Martin McDonagh.

Forty-year-old spinster Maureen is trapped in a claustrophobic, dull existence, caring for her conniving mother Mag and putting up with years of insults.

When a chance comes along to make a new life for herself, Maureen sees an opportunity to escape. Mag, however, has other ideas and her interference causes a chain of events which will have devastating consequences.

Clare Evans-Argent plays Maureen and says that the challenge is achieving a balance in the two sides to the woman, the audience needs to understand how miserable her life is and feel for her but then to be shocked by the action she takes.

Jenny Antram, who plays Mag, feels that fear is at the root of her character’s behaviour. She has something of a specialism in playing unpleasant mothers but she says that she needed to make this a very different performance to anything she had done before.

Mag is immobile much of the time so Jenny has had to find ways of physically conveying the woman’s personality without the movement she would normally bring to a role.

Audiences are assured of strong, moving performances in the capable hands of these two highly accomplished actresses, supported by Chris Rawson and Richard Naylor as Maureen’s suitor Pato and his brother Ray.

l Tickets for this powerful play in Harrogate Theatre Studio are available at the Harrogate Theatre box office, telephone 01423 502116.

l The play runs from Wednesday, December 7 to Saturday, December 10 with evening performances at 7.45 pm and a Saturday matinee at 2 pm.