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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



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