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Theatre review: Stones in His Pockets in Westport

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Stones in His Pockets runs at the Depot Theatre in Westport through September 3. Resident theatre critic Connie Meng was at the opening night and has our review.

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Connie Meng
Theatre Critic

STONES IN HIS POCKETS by Irish playwright Marie Jones is difficult to describe.  Winner of many awards on both sides of the Atlantic, the play centers around the making of a big-budget Hollywood epic in a small village in rural Ireland.  It's a tour-de-force for two actors who between them play thirteen characters, from the arrogant and self-deluded Hollywood crew to the Irish extras with their unrealistic dreams and ambitions.

Billed as a comedy, the play also has a serious side and contains some pointed social commentary.  In the midst of the many laughs lurk powerfully moving scenes, especially the one in which we discover the origin of the play's title.

Thomas Bolster as Charlie and Christian Rummel as Jake are both very good actors and amazingly versatile.  Not only that, but on opening night they displayed tremendous powers of concentration during the physical and emotional freezes while not one, but three long freight trains passed. 

Mr. Bolster is especially effective as the starlet Carolyn and as Clem, the British movie director.  Mr. Rummel shines as Aisling, the affected assistant director, and as the disturbed Sean, particularly in his essay on cows.  All the characters are clearly defined through body language and voice.  It's a treat to watch these actors slip from one character to another with lightning speed.

However, Jake and Charlie are at the core of the play.  The actors have created a strong relationship between these two characters.  They are thoroughly believable from their bickering, through their hilarious dancing and attempts to act, to their triumphal conclusion.

Director Chris Clavelli has designed a simple and versatile set that consists of a fence, a trunk and a couple of stools.  The upstage cyc provides an excellent back-drop for Iain Whitecross's effective lighting.  Jean Brookman has come up with basic costumes which allow for minor changes that help to define the characters.

Mr. Clavelli has done a fine job of directing the piece.  It's very well staged, the characters believable, and the action never confusing.  By the end of the evening we feel we've met a whole stage full of people, not just two.

If you haven't seen STONES IN HIS POCKETS, this is a good opportunity to make the acquaintance of a fine play.  This solid production provides an evening of  funny, touching and unusual entertainment.

On a scale of one to five the Depot Theatre production of STONES IN HIS POCKETS gets four and seven-eighths box cars.  For North Country Public Radio I'm Connie Meng.

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