Written by playwright Marie Jones, and directed in this production at The Gladstone by John P. Kelly, Stones In His Pockets is a comedy with two actors and dozens of characters. The central characters of Stones In His Pockets are a pair of Irishmen named Jake and Charlie and the story is about them working as extras and navigating their way through a big budget Hollywood movie set that invades a small town in Ireland. Should You See It?
Stones In His Pockets is first a comedy and it is quite funny, largely thanks to the characterizations of the actors. Zach Counsil and Richard Gélinas make up the two person cast, playing Charlie and Jake respectively. They each also jump into the dozen plus other roles of townspeople and on set crew, including the director, 1st AD, Hollywood starlet, and a fun, overconfident extra who thinks he can’t be fired because he’s already part of the movie’s continuity and is “in the can.”
Bonus points for you if you’ve ever worked in depth on a movie set because you’ll recognize and identify with the movie set characters and in-references all too well.
At first the change-ups will keep you on your toes but once you’re accustomed to who the additional characters are, Counsil and Gélinas make it very easy to follow them through the many and rapid changes – which is a special credit to their skill since each of the characters carries entirely new accents, personas, and mannerisms. Both men are very strong actors, with great comedic timing and great chemistry together (just watch our video preview). The two even engage in a little Irish-like dance number that they have such fun with, they even pick it up again during the curtain call.
The play is funny, yes, but especially in the 2nd act, after the event on which the title of the play was derived, Stones In His Pockets shows a lot of heart as it digs into the effect that the giant Hollywood engine has when it moves into a tiny rural town. Creating a –short term- boon in industry and tourism for a start but also creating a microcosm of the LA effect – putting stars in people’s eyes and making them long for bigger and brighter pastures that most of them will never be able to obtain.
As a special side note, I had the pleasure of sitting next to the Irish Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Ray Bassett, on opening night. I spoke briefly to Mr. Bassett after the show and he mentioned that he greatly enjoyed himself, noting especially the talents of the actors. You can’t get a much better (completely unofficial) endorsement than that.
What did you think? Did you enjoy Stones In His Pockets or did you find that it fell flat? Am I totally off my rocker, or do you pretty much feel the same? Tell me in the comments below.
Photos for this article taken for Production Ottawa by Production Ottawa photographer, David Pasho.