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Stones in His Pockets

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
Four stars


Marie Jones' tragicomic dissection of cultural colonialism by a predatory
Hollywood film shoot in rural Ireland first appeared in Edinburgh in 1999 en
route to the West End and Broadway. At that time, the so-called Celtic Tiger
which had  reinvigorated the Irish economy and the film industry that went with
it so spectacularly was in its final throes of unfettered largesse. More
recently Ireland's landscape has provided a suitably fantastical backdrop for
Game of Thrones, though the sentimentally inclined sentimentalising of tradition
continues to prevail elsewhere.

Jones puts her story in the hands of
down-on-their-luck film extras Jake and Charlie, played
by two actors who
proceed to unveil a cast of thousands, from the last surviving veteran of The
Quiet Man to the American starlet feeding off the local colour. Through this
device, a very serious statement is made about the relationship between art and
commerce using an apposite and ingenious shoestring aesthetic.

Alasdair
McCrone's production for the Mull-based Comar organisation casts McCrone and
Barrie Hunter as the play's thrown together double act on Alicia Hendrick's busy
set of movie lights, coat racks and a solitary patch of Earth at its centre.
From here, the full vainglorious ridiculousness of a parasitical ego-led
industry is laid bare, no more so than through the suicide of seventeen year old
drug addict Sean, thrown out of his local pub and onto the scrap
heap.

Somewhere out of all this Jake and Charlie emerge triumphant, seizing the
moment and the means of production en route to a state of independence in a play
that damns its subject matter even as it reclaims the heart of a local community
beyond it.

The Herald, September 7th 2015
Ends

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