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Culture, The Exhibitionist Beauty Queen of Leenane

Beauty Queen of Leenane

Martin McDonagh, the author of acclaimed plays including "A Skull in Connemara," "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" and "The Pillowman", as well as the movies In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, is an exceptional writer, says Shotgun Players member Beth Wilmurt, who…
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Film, "Seven Psychopaths": A Great, Nasty Time at the Movies

"Seven Psychopaths": A Great, Nasty Time at the Movies

Perhaps you've lost faith in movies about amusingly digressive criminals. Maybe you believe it's no longer possible to be pleasurably jolted by inventive swearing, from-no-place head shots, and post-everything structural flourishes. Certainly you have no reason to expect blood-splattered poetry…
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Film, Feature Waits Variations: Six Faces of Tom Waits, Character Actor

Waits Variations: Six Faces of Tom Waits, Character Actor

In Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths, a prune-faced, simian-mouthed sexagenarian sits by the road in an old suit and brown-patterned tie, and cradles a white bunny in his arms. This is precisely what we've come to expect of a Tom Waits…
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Culture, Stagecap

The Sugar Witch

Set in the tangle of a haunted Florida swamp in the late 1920s, The Sugar Witch has all the trappings of a Southern Gothic melodrama, or better yet, a Southern version of a Martin McDonagh play. In addition to mentions…
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Culture, Stage Amy Freed's comedy is far from spectacular in <i>You, Nero</i>

Amy Freed's comedy is far from spectacular in You, Nero

Over the years I've been blogging about the arts, I've never been showered with more feedback than I received for a post I wrote about Susan Boyle a few weeks ago. Following the hype surrounding the middle-aged chanteuse's rocketlike ascent…
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Film, More Adventures in Gangsterland

More Adventures in Gangsterland

No celebrity hairdresser should ever be allowed near Colin Farrell's eyebrows with a tweezer. His black, fluffy, glorious unibrow still isn't the prettiest thing about In Bruges — that honor falls to the Belgian city itself, known for its scenic…
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Culture, Stage Creepy Brilliance

Creepy Brilliance

It would be nice to say that I couldn't care less about Anglo-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh's defection to Hollywood. But that would be a lie. It's true that I wasn't all that bothered when I first heard that the author…
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Calendar, Night&Day Sweet Dreams?

Sweet Dreams?

Children's literature harbors a vein of cruelty that holds our attention — whether it's the bloody caution of Edward Gorey or the jocular sadism of Roald Dahl. Now Martin McDonagh's play The Pillowman takes the comedy and the nastiness of…
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Culture, Stage Fraternal Disorder

Fraternal Disorder

One thing about being Catholic, says Coleman to his brother and archenemy, Valene, in the sooty kitchen of their house in the west of Ireland, is that you get to confess your sins. "Sure I can shoot me own dad's…
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Calendar, Night&Day Cain and Abel

Cain and Abel

Some sibling rivalry is normal, but the kind of animosity that exists between the brothers in Martin McDonagh's dark comedy The Lonesome West is extreme. Valene and Coleman are two middle-aged men who share their father's house after his death.…
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Culture, Stage Loser's Poker

Loser's Poker

Patrick Marber's second, strangely empty play, Closer (which the Berkeley Rep staged in June), is hard to reconcile with his first play, Dealer's Choice, a solid, steam-driven story about card players that beats David Mamet at his favorite game. If…
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Culture, Stage Aran Yarn

Aran Yarn

The soul of Martin McDonagh's Cripple of Inishmaan is a scrappy Irish teenager called Slippy Helen. She brightens the play with a savagery that might as well be aimed straight at the heart of the Bay Area's cautious, pleasant, faux-dignified…
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Culture, Stage Dueling Tyros

Dueling Tyros

Last week saw a pair of major West Coast premieres by a pair of novice playwrights. Spring Storm, written by Tennessee Williams when he was 26, came to faltering life in Marin; and The Beauty Queen of Leenane, written by…
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