Stones In His Pockets, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, June 9th, 2022, Theatre review

By Conor O’Neill

Celebrating its 25th year, Marie Jones’ Stones In His Pockets simply doesn’t age. If anything, with this modern take on Jones’ classic, it’s brought to a new audience with references to Amazon Prime, “Amazon Killed the radio star.” being just one of the neat little touches I can’t recall from my earlier viewing of the play.

Jones’ son, Matthew McElhinney sits on the director’s chair and brings his mother’s heart rendering and hugely funny tale to life.

The general gist is this, a little rural Irish town in County Kerry is taken over by the money and the general rose tinted American view of Ireland. Charlie played by Gerard McCabe and his pal Jake (Shaun Blaney) are hired as extras and the two have their collective minds set on big money and some sort of fame. They general hope throughout the village is that by the end of this invasion, “We’ll be farting through silk.”

The Quiet Valley is the quaint name the town assumes under the American invasion. But the name belies the true workings of rural Ireland the Yanks perhaps didn’t realise.

McCabe and Blaney act their hearts out and under the choreography of of Fleur Mellor the two cover every inch of the stage, either through shenanigans or more serious scenes, the two play the many characters with the nuance each deserves.

The underside of the village is that as far removed from a big city as they are they are not cut off from modern scourges. Namely cocaine which sees their friend addicted and generally scorned by most in this green and pretty land, and this how addictions are the new blight of this Island.

It’s easy to see why this play has won two Olivier Awards, several Tony nominations and been a hit on Broadway and the West End. The combined talents of The Barn Theatre, the brilliance of the original script and the acting of McCabe and Blaney make this a must to go into your diary.

Stones In His Pockets runs up to and including July 3, 2022.

For booking info visit http://www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or simply phone the box office on 02890 381081

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