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Stones in His Pockets review at Theatre Royal Bath – ‘a timely revival’

Marie Jones’ Olivier-winning black comedy Stones in His Pockets, currently out on a 14-week national tour 20 years after its West End and Broadway triumphs, has needed only a tweak or two to bring it right up to date.

Jones’ multi-layered narrative uses a host of characters (all played by just two actors) to trace the devastating impact of the arrival of an American film crew on a traditional Irish community. The locals quickly come to feel exploited – as Irish men and women have done down the ages. But the great success of Jones’ brooding comedy is how it homes in on just two impecunious locals hired as film ‘extras’ (a particularly effective metaphor for people living on the margins of life).

Kevin Trainor and Owen Sharpe offer precision, energy and an exhilarating sense of fun in switching at the drop of a shillelagh between the play’s 15 roles, ranging from a glamorous American film star to themselves as children. But it is as the two extras – the ever-optimistic Charlie (Trainor) and the world-weary Jake (Sharpe) – that they highlight the film moguls’ romanticised view of rural Ireland and their unthinking abuse of its residents.

Director Lindsay Posner, who worked alongside Jones in updating the script, is particularly adept at melding the play’s richly comic moments with the anger of people who feel they have no future, a message driven home also by Peter McKintosh’s ramshackle countryside set.

Stones in His Pockets: ‘As relevant and timeless as it was 20 years ago’ [1]

Verdict
Timely revival of Marie Jones' ground-breaking play about the thoughtless invasion of a culture by outsiders

Production Information

Production
Stones in His Pockets
Venue
Theatre Royal
City
Bath
Starts
March 11, 2019
Ends
March 16, 2019, then touring until July 27
Press night
March 13, 2019
Authors
Marie Jones
Composer
Corin Buckeridge
Director
Lindsay Posner
Set
Peter McKintosh
Lighting
Howard Harrison
Sound
Paul Groothuis
Stage manager
Paul Ferris
Production manager
Luke Child
Cast includes
Owen Sharpe, Kevin Trainor
Producer
Theatre Royal Bath Productions, Rose Theatre
Running time
1hr 45mins