A chilling ‘Beauty Queen of Leenane’ at Shakespeare & Company

Elizabeth Aspenlieder as Maureen (left), David Sedgwick as Pato, and Tina Packer as Mag in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.’’
Elizabeth Aspenlieder as Maureen (left), David Sedgwick as Pato, and Tina Packer as Mag in “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.’’Enrico Spada

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LENOX – Home is where the hate is in Shakespeare & Company’s production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,’’ a pitiless vision of domestic suffocation.

The domicile in question is a threadbare cottage in Leenane, a village in County Galway, on the west coast of Ireland. It’s occupied by a scrofulous, manipulative old woman named Mag Folan, played by Tina Packer as a kind of living gargoyle, and her embittered, 40-year-old daughter Maureen, portrayed with seething force by Elizabeth Aspenlieder.

For two decades, Maureen has been Mag’s caretaker, and the mother is determined to keep it that way, even though terrible things have been happening under their roof. Then romance flares between Maureen and a good-natured bloke named Pato Dooley (David Sedgwick), suggesting the possibility of escape from her stifling existence.

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THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE

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