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The play ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ is a darkly comic tale and a compelling love story

Independent Online (IOL) logo Independent Online (IOL) 2022/09/29 Kedibone Modise

A new psychological thriller “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” is set to make its South African debut at the Sandton’s Theatre on the Square from Tuesday, October 4, to Saturday, October 9.

Written by acclaimed Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, the theatrical piece is a “darkly comic tale” about a dysfunctional relationship between mother Mag (Jennifer Steyn) and daughter Maureen (Julie-Anne McDowell).

The play follows the life of Maureen, an unmarried middle-aged woman who, while caring for her ailing mother, tries to find love.

The drama unfolds when the paths of brothers Pato (Bryan Hiles) and Ray (Sven Ruygrok) collide with the mother and daughter.

Commenting on the play, director Charmaine Weir-Smith said: “With less than a week to go before opening, rehearsals are in full swing for ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’.

“At the start of any creative process, I am reminded of a quote from one of my favourite actors, Alan Alda, ‘The creative is a place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself’.

“And that’s the journey I’ve taken with this stellar cast. Every day they bring their expertise, boldness and intuition into the rehearsal room, where they explore the highs and lows of the human condition against a backdrop of some of the best writing in modern theatre,” added Weir-Smith.

“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” is the debut production of How Now Brown Cow Productions, spearheaded by Daniel Galloway.

Galloway said: “It’s been two and a half years since we launched How Now Brown Cow, a new, independent South African-based, global production company.

“It has tested our patience and resolve and we now find ourselves ready to announce our very first stage production.

“While we’ve had to wait much longer than we would’ve liked, we have kept ourselves busy during this period of waiting. This play by the world-renowned Martin McDonagh is the ideal production to launch with.”

He added: “The show is a powerful piece of writing and offers an excellent vehicle to our all-star line-up who, together, will deliver a world-class piece of theatre.

“We could not be more excited about our first outing! And as we emerge on the other side of what has been a brutally difficult period for everyone in the theatre sector, I encourage you to buy your tickets and come and see just how good South African talent can be!”

“The Beauty Queen of Leenane” will be staged at Theatre on the Square, from Tuesday, October 4 .

Tickets are available at Computicket from R150.

It is a season of love. And many theatre houses around the country are showcasing local productions that celebrate love.


Where: Joburg Theatre.

When: Date: September 30 to October 9.

“Cinderella” returns to the Joburg Theatre for just a limited season after two and half years.

Choreographed by Joburg Ballet’s artistic director Iain MacDonald, “Cinderella” waltzes across the stage with Johann Strauss’s immortal melodies providing the perfect musical setting for this ultimate rags-to-riches tale.

Commenting on the show, MacDonald said: “It’s has always been one of the company’s most popular ballets, both in our original version as well as our current production which was last staged at the Joburg Theatre in 2016 and at the Teatro at Montecasino in 2018.

“Johann Strauss composed some of the most enchanting and memorable classical music ever written, and the music to which ”Cinderella“ is danced is no exception.”


Where: The Baxter.

When: October 6-8.

Based on true life events, powerful performer, and Magnet Theatre graduate, Sivuyile Dunjwa, tells a story of love, dreams, and township life and how some men find it difficult to talk about experiencing abuse in their relationships.

Dunjwa tells the painful story of a young man who loves a girl and reveals the power of being in love. He dreams of growing old and creating a family with this girl one day.

The dream is powerful and he will do anything and everything to make it come true.

Until one day he does the unspeakable. It is a story about growing up in the township, gender-based violence, lack of possibilities, and how scarcity can lead to unexpected results.

At All Cost

Where: Rhumbelow Theatre.

When: Date: October 2-3.

In this compelling solo piece of solo theatre, Peter Terry performs in his own play, directed by the internationally-acclaimed theatre director, Janice Honeyman.

This compelling production commemorates the legendary Battle of Delville Wood in July 1916 and the supreme sacrifice and heroism of the South African Brigade.

David Wells, a retired mechanical engineer, who fought and was wounded at the Battle of Delville Wood as a 19-year-old youngster in 1916, reluctantly returns to the Wood in 1970 and finds himself reliving the Battle, in “At All Cost“.

The play is a deeply moving and poetic elegy to the unquiet ghosts of Delville Wood, and to the brave men whose lives were changed forever by this apocalyptic battle.

The Drowning Eye

Where: The Market Theatre.

When: October 6-23.

“The Drowning Eye” is a new artistic project that looks at love and revolution in all their intertwining.

Written in 1949, when the young Martiniquan author was just 24 and a student in Paris, “The Drowning Eye” is a part love poem, part surrealist narrative, part philosophical treatise, and a powerful testimony to the power and possibilities of love as an act of resistance.

“The Drowning Eye” is performed in the midst of an exhibition which combines archival material with poetic lines of flight and philosophical questions, and features voice by Lesego Rampolokeng, as well as film and music to explore revolutionary love in all its guises, revolutionary manifestations of love, love as a revolutionary force and the historic role of love and lovers within liberation movements, from Frantz and Josie Fanon to Che Guevara and Aleida March Torre, Winnie and Nelson Mandela, Miriam Makeba and Stokely Carmichael.

iZulu The Musical

Where: The Playhouse Company.

When: September 29 - October 2.

Scripted, composed, and directed by Zolani Maseko, this captivating story of long-lasting love promises a vibrant theatrical experience, charged with youthful energy.

The powerhouse cast of 26 is backed by an 11-piece band.

And adding their own pulling power to the production’s audience appeal, are three surprise luminaries featured as guest artists.

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