Skip to main content

Stones in his Pockets


Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
Anyone expecting Marie Jones’ ingenious two-hander about a Hollywood 
film crew descending on a rural Irish village to be a full-on 
knockabout romp is in for a surprise. Because so adept is Jones at the 
theatrical and comedic double-bluff that what starts out as a sit-com 
style yarn about a couple of film extras on the make becomes both an 
elegy for a dying community and an artistic call to arms against a form 
of colonialism that denigrates the culture it feeds off. Some sixteen 
years after the play first appeared, Andy Arnold’s new production for 
the Tron arrives with a renewed vigour perhaps informed by the current 
climate of recession.

Jake and Charlie meet on the set of a tax-break enabled windswept epic 
being shot on their doorsteps, and featuring a real-life big-screen 
starlet as the female lead. For an impoverished work-force, the forty 
quid a day the men earn is easy pickings. When a teenage drug addict is 
found dead in the river after being refused a job on the film before 
being thrown out of his local, the initially hilarious war of attrition 
between Jake and Charlie on one side and a roll-call of film crew 
flunkies takes an altogether more serious turn.

By having two actors play all the parts, Jones not only embraces a poor 
theatre aesthetic, she also sets up a fantastic vehicle for actors to 
leap aboard. Keith Fleming and Robbie Jack do this with slick, 
well-drilled aplomb without ever losing sight of the play’s serious 
points. As an intelligently populist crowd-pleaser, it can’t fail. As a 
critique of the ongoing corruption of mass entertainment, it’s deadly.

The Herald, July 12th 2012

ends





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…

This House

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Five years is a long time in politics just as it is in the theatre. When James Graham’s epic reimagining of one of the most pivotal eras in late twentieth century British democracy first appeared in 2012, its depiction of the aftermath of the 1974 hung parliament in Westminster chimed with a then current coalition. Half a decade and a couple of referendums on, Graham’s dramatic whizz through to 1979’s successful vote of no confidence in the Labour government now looks like a warning.
Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle’s touring revival of a production first seen at the National Theatre begins with both sides of the House marching en masse in their grey suits and twin-sets down the aisles of the auditorium before cutting a well-choreographed rug in formation. As the Labour and Tory whips mark out their territory away from the chamber, this proves to be one of the few moments of unity in a breathless yarn that picks at the old-school gentleman’s agree…