Dark Road: don’t feel compelled to go down it

In Dark Road, Isobel (Rebecca Walters) and Alfred (Paul Herbert) duke it out in the murk of moral ambiguity.

In Dark Road, Isobel (Rebecca Walters) and Alfred (Paul Herbert) duke it out in the murk of moral ambiguity.

A crime thriller, Dark Road feels much more suited to television than the stage. And, if it were on television, I’d turn it off. (The production is strong, but that’s not my point.)

In Dark Road, Isobel McArthur, the first female Chief Constable in Scotland, is about to retire after 30 years on the police force. She’s considering writing a book about the case that made her career 25 years earlier. Isobel helped to convict Alfred Chalmers of murdering four young women who received abortions at the hospital where he worked as an orderly. Alfred has been incarcerated ever since, but Isobel is not convinced that he is guilty; Alfred was convicted on the basis of flimsy forensic evidence—and that evidence has gone missing. [Read more…]

The Beauty Queen of Leenane: impressive performances in sensationalistic script

Maureen (Kirsten Slenning) and Mag (Tanja Dixon-Warren) duke it out in The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Maureen (Kirsten Slenning) and Mag (Tanja Dixon-Warren) duke it out in The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

It’s a nasty play well performed.

In Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, it’s the early 90s and Maureen is caring for her mother Mag in the claustrophobic Irish village of the title. The two women hate each other. Forty-year-old Maureen is a virgin who has kissed only two men. For this, Mag declares Maureen a whore. Mag wheedles and demands. Every morning, she empties her bedpan into the kitchen sink—and she has a urinary infection. When Mag says, “I’d die before you’d put me in a home,” Maureen replies, “Aye. Hopefully.” [Read more…]

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