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Friday, 30 July 2021

REVIEW: Stones in His Pockets at the Barn Theatre

Stones in his Pockets is a very well written play by Marie Jones and ran for several years in the West End from 2000 to 2003 to great acclaim and has now reached the 25th anniversary of its first production. It is a funny but moving story of a group of extras on a Hollywood film in rural County Kerry, but its unique trick is that all the characters are played by two male actors. This revival at the Barn Cirencester (which was streamed from a single camera capture for reviewers to watch) sticks with the original production styling although there were two notable updates as Extra Vision who drive Charlie out of business is updated to Amazon Prime and the extras day rate has increased from £40 to 100 Euros!

Its success depends on the two actors who play the storytellers Jake and Charlie and their effectiveness in creating the rest of the recurring characters with a minimum of costume changes and props. Director Matthew McElhinney (the son of the author & the original Director Ian) successfully ensures that the transitions between characters are slickly and effectively achieved. He creates a generally fast-paced show with the two young actors Shaun Blaney as Jake Quinn and Gerard McCabe as Charlie Conlon who meet on the set of a film. Charlie is “on the run from himself” following the collapse of his business and responding to an advert for Extras in return for great money and free grub! Jake is a local lad who has had a spell in America but returned because he was homesick.
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