An idiosyncratic charge attends "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" at the Lex Theatre. We expect the Production Company to play around with established commercial fare, and this bluntly gripping revival of Martin McDonagh's dark comic Irish take on maternal-filial entrapment fulfills expectations.
Director-designer August Viverito essentially honors this first of McDonagh's trilogy of plays that transpire in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. The action occurs in 1990, in the threadbare rural cottage where embittered, middle-aged Maureen Folan (Ferrell Marshall) is caregiver to Mag (Judy Nazemetz), her deceptively ailing mother. Their decades-long cat-and-mouse game reaches critical mass when Maureen sees one last chance at love with sensitive Pato Dooley (Alex Egan).
Viverito maintains the script's mix of sardonic humor, psychological mystery and sociological detail, but risks certain ambiguities with against-type casting. The washed-out frump and mountainous golem respectively associated with Tony-winning originators Marie Mullen and Anna Manahan give way to Marshall's hearty, Juno-esque attractiveness as Maureen, and Nazemetz's ornate, near-baroque pixilation as Mag.