‘Stones in His Pockets’ Review by Dan O’Neill
‘Stones in His Pockets’ is one of the great crowd-pleasing plays of the last twenty years. The deft, moving, funny and excellently crafted two-hander has won multiple awards and been performed internationally and the play returns to the Gaiety for a short, but welcome run. This is commercial theatre with real integrity and a most enjoyable evening out to boot. ‘Stones’ is already part of the modern popular canon and is a sure-fire money-maker for any producer. This version doesn’t disappoint and hits some high marks over the course of the evening.
The play concerns the lives two film extras, Charlie (Stephen Jones) and Jake (Damian Kearney) on the set of a big movie production in Kerry (think ‘The Quiet Man’ or ‘Ryan’s Daughter’). It is essentially a World’s Collide tale but one invested with great writing and heart. The two leads, Jones and Kearney (both of whom you may recognise from ‘Love/Hate’) assume multiple characters – both male and female, and provide the audience with some hilarious physical comedy as a result. The actors spark off each other extremely well and there’s plenty of laughs and, if you’re feeling emotional, some tears. They have all their different accents working perfectly; the ‘outsiders’ are particularly well observed and presented. There’s a dramatic turn in tone before the interval but this is acted with great skill and compassion. The main conflict is between ‘Hollywood’ and the Natives – and this is mined to great effect. Other themes include small-town provincialism, rural suicide and the vacuity of vanity – and yes, this is still a comedy and a very good one at that.
‘Stones’ is a great example of how you can create a fictional world with the minimum of set design, Director Ian McElhinny has the production running seamlessly; he brings rhythm and a sense of fun to the words and ideas of playwright Marie Jones. This is a story of how we shouldn’t let go of our dreams and not get sucked into the dark-side. It’s an uplifting narrative and one that would bring a smile to the hardest of cynics. Jones knows how to write a good ‘un and if you haven’t seen ‘Stones’, try and beg, steal or borrow a ticket.To paraphrase Bob Dylan, everybody must get Stoned.
STONES IN HIS POCKETS BY MARIE JONES
DIRECTED BY IAN MCELHINNEY
Starring – Damian Kearney & Stephen Jones
GAIETY THEATRE – Now Running until Sat 29 March