Windsor’s Post Productions is known for taking risks. The company books some of the most engaging and cutting edge productions shown in Windsor. Often funny, sometimes challenging and always riveting, there’s a sense of reliability knowing you’re going to get a bang for your theatre buck when you visit them at The Shadowbox Theatre.
Recently, Post has pushed its risk taking to new levels by offering live theatre productions to live audience in the COVID world. Limited to 12 guests per show, the audience gets a full theatre experience (in a safe environment) with nothing held back in its production, music or lighting.
Enter The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a rural Irish tale of Mag and Maureen Folan written by Martin McDonagh. Originally scheduled for a three-week run until December 12, the play will be limited to a 2 show opening weekend starting tonight (Nov. 27) – thanks to new Ontario health restrictions that require theatres to close on Monday for at least 28 days.
For those 24 people who get to witness this show, you’ll see the best set Post has ever assembled and some of the finest lighting in Ontario (if you don’t believe me, just wait until the fireplace scene at the climax of the second act).
The Beauty Queen of Leenane centers on the poisonous relationship of the toxic duo of Mag (Heather Hausmann) and Maureen Folan (Cindy Pastorius), who live in a little home in the tiny village of Leenane, located on the southern shore of Killary Harbour in Ireland – a community so small that there are no jobs to stop residents from flocking to England for work.
The Folan home can best be described as a real shit-house – a true breeding ground for hatred, yelling and a whack load of smells, urine and mildew. Post crafted a wonderful version of what we’d expect a poor, loveless family to live and fight in. In many ways the home could be one of the catapults that drives this family to the brink.
The two have lived like this for 20 years.
Maureen feels trapped and doomed to watch others live their own lives while she rots away – taking it out on her angry and vile mother Mag, who dishes out the malicious insults and attitude threefold.
One day, their neighbour, Ray Dooley (Colin Zorzit), stops by to invite Maureen to a party with his older brother Pato (Joey Ouellette) – Maureen’s crush from long ago. After she returns home from the party and spends the night with Pato, a series of unfortunate events, lies and carelessness twists the story into utter emotional chaos.
It’s a brilliantly acted production from all involved. Cindy and Heather fashioned a perfect motley crew, built out of decades of angst and depression. We all know a Mag in our family somewhere, but somehow Heather made the character so familiar it feels like you were hanging out at a Savoie family reunion in New Brunswick. Cindy had her shining moment in the production at the climax of the show near the end of the second act where she has a scene with Heather only lit by that previously mentioned fireplace light.
This is indeed one of Post’s finest works and for the lucky few who manage to get tickets, it will bring huge theatrical bragging rights for many years to come.
Tonight’s performance is sold out, but at press time there were a couple left for Saturday. show. Tickets are $25, available online only at postproductionswindsor.ca, where patrons can also review the venue’s Covid-19 health and safety policies. The Shadowbox Theatre is located at 103 – 1501 Howard Ave, at the corner of Howard and Shepherd.
Just make sure to bring your own Kimberlys.