Reviewed by Nigel Chester
It’s always a pleasure to be at the Theatre Royal Nottingham, an amazing space with some of the best transport links in the country. The Yarn bar has an extensive array of gins which were very welcome on a beautiful sunny evening.
I had read around Stones in His Pockets and was excited to see how just two actors could portray fifteen characters. The play has a formidable history, it premiered in The West Belfast Festival in 1996, it was performed modified and polished before moving to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1999 and eventually finding its home in London’s West End for three years at The Duke of York Theatre, the original cast took the show to Broadway. Stones in His Pockets had truly arrived.
We settled into our seats, which are comfortable and plenty of leg room and there was a happy babble from the audience. 7.30 precisely (remarkably unusual) the stage went dark and our two actors for the evening appear as if by magic.
We were to be entertained for 90 minutes by Owen Sharpe and Kevin Trainor as Jake Quinn and Charlie Conlon.
This was like no other show that I had seen before, I think it was a bit like “Marmite”, the lady to my right belly laughed and the gentleman to my left did not return to his seat after the interval. I sat somewhat confused initially, but the story grew. A rural Irish village that has a big Hollywood film production taking place, the villagers are asked to be the extras. Initially delighted at the prospect and for £40 a day equally delighted with the money, much of which gets spent in the local pub at night.
We met more characters and they reappeared moving the story along it did unfurl, I thought at one point it was like watching a spiders web being created it starts small and becomes bigger until you eventually see it in all its beauty, and just like a spiders web it captures you completely.
Some characters stood out the pouting Aisling, a runner for the crew was my particular favourite, sometimes the character swaps were so subtle that I was unsure who was talking but really in the end it didn’t matter, as we saw the devastating impact of the film had on the village and in particular Sean.
Rural life and the herd of cattle became a metaphor for the film crew, cows however are more useful.
Jake and Charlie decide that they could write a better script than the film and present the idea to the director. Not romantic enough.
Well lads why not make it a play, use just two fabulously talented actors, tell Sean’s story. Delight and confuse your audience. Really, I would have liked a wig or a hat to appear more often for some of the folk. But I managed. Anyway, off for breakfast, Marmite on toast today, I think.
Tickets cost from £16.50 to £33.50 (booking fees may apply).
Stones in His Pockets is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 22-27 July 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND