DramaNorth WestReview

Stones in His Pockets – Liverpool Playhouse

Writer: Marie Jones

Director: Lindsay Posner

Reviewer: Tate James

“People watch movies for a happy ending. We don’t watch movies to get depressed: that’s why we have the theatre”

Marie Jones’ wilfully witty and sometimes-sarcastic script may be packed with quips from its pair of everyday heroes, yet this charming two-hander is far from depressing. As many recover from a much-enjoyed St Patrick’s Day, those lucky enough to see Stones In His Pockets at the Liverpool Playhouse enjoyed another evening of Irish merriment.

The inhabitants of the quaint rural village of Kerry do not know what has hit them when Hollywood descends upon its pastures green, bringing with it a crew of movie stars, A-List directors, assistants and bodyguards. The excitable cast local extras earn their £40 a day working long hours and fighting for extra pudding from the catering trucks in the hope that their faces would be seen in America. But Hollywood’s glitter and glamour has an emotional cost on the locals not lucky enough to step onto set. It is a larger than life story from the eyes of the average Joe, and perhaps more impressive, is that its multitude of characters (some 20+ on the last count) are brought to life by just two actors.

And fine actors they are. Owen Sharpe and Kevin Trainer switch at ease between four or five characters within one scene, never once losing the momentum of the narrative. The slightest change in body language or the smallest adjustment in lilting dialect and we are instantly presented with the next local drunk or ignorant assistant. Perhaps more enjoyable than any other is Trainor’s portrayal of Hollywood starlet Caroline Giovanni, a masterclass in nuance that sheds away his bulky frame to reveal the woman below, vulnerable and even seductive.

Lindsay Posner’s direction is swift; the action dances with pace across Peter McKintosh’s simple set and Marie Jones’ hearty script leaves no doubt as to why this particular play garnered such a catalogue of awards and nominations when it first appeared on stage over 20 years ago.

It is authentic and honest, with a view into Tinseltown that is a little closer to home than expected, just across the Irish Sea.

Runs until 23 March 2019 | Image: Nobby Clark

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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