Comedy by Marie Jones. See what happens when a major Hollywood film studio descends upon a small village in County Kerry in rural Ireland, through the eyes of two aspiring Irish movie extras Jake and Charlie, and a host of other extraordinary characters brilliantly brought to life by just two actors.
Following a season at the Traverse Theatre in August 1999 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the original production transferred to the West End where it played for a total of four years, winning both the Laurence Olivier Award and the Evening Standard Theatre Award for 'Best New Comedy'.
Original West End Production 2000
Previewed 31 August 1999, Opened 1 September 1999, Closed 18 September 1999 at the Tricycle Theatre (now Kiln Theatre)
Returned 4 April 2000, Closed 20 May 2000 at the Tricycle Theatre (now Kiln Theatre)
Previewed 23 May 2000, Opened 24 May 2000, Closed 19 August 2000 at the Ambassadors Theatre
Transferred 21 August 2000, Closed 12 July 2003 at the Duke of York's Theatre
Previewed 14 July 2003, Opened 21 July 2003, Closed 1 May 2004 at the Ambassadors Theatre
Marie Jones' award-winning hit comedy Stones in his Pockets in London
The cast at the Tricycle Theatre in 1999 and 2000, and the original West End cast at the Ambassadors Theatre, up to Saturday 12 August 2000, featured Conleth Hill as 'Charlie Conlon', and Sean Campion as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 14 to Saturday 19 August 2000 featured Louis Dempsey as 'Charlie Conlon', and Sean Sloan as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 21 August 2000 to Saturday 16 December 2000 featured Conleth Hill as 'Charlie Conlon', and Sean Campion as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 18 December 2000 to Saturday 28 April 2001 featured Louis Dempsey as 'Charlie Conlon', and Sean Sloan as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 30 April 2001 to Saturday 27 October 2001 featured Kieran Creggan as 'Charlie Conlon' and Kieran Lagan as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 29 October 2001 to Saturday 12 January 2002 featured Bronson Pinchot as 'Charlie Conlon', and Christopher Burns as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 14 January 2002 to Saturday 2 February 2002 featured Louis Dempsey as 'Charlie Conlon', and Sean Sloan as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 4 February 2002 to Saturday 1 June 2002 featured Lloyd Hutchinson as 'Charlie Conlon', and Kieran Lagan as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Tuesday 4 June 2002 to Saturday 28 September 2002 featured Martin Jenkins as 'Charlie Conlon', and Vincent Patrick as 'Jake Quinn'. (No performance on Monday 3 June 2002 which was a Bank Holiday marking the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II).
The cast from Monday 30 September 2002 to ???? Saturday 12 July 2003 featured Rupert Degas as 'Charlie Conlon', and Brian Doherty as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 14 July 2003 to Saturday 21 February 2004 featured Rupert Degas as 'Charlie Conlon', and Hugh Lee as 'Jake Quinn'.
The cast from Monday 23 February 2004 to Saturday 1 May 2004 featured Simon Delaney as 'Charlie Conlon', and Jean-Paul van Cauwelaert as 'Jake Quinn'.
Directed by Ian McElhinney, with sets by Jack Kirwan, costumes by Jeanette Parkes, lighting by James C McFetridge (Tricycle Theatre, first Ambassadors Theatre run, and Duke of York's Theatre run), and lighting by Graham McLusky (at the second Ambassadors Theatre run).
Casting: Due to the nature of this two-hander play, the actors performed in 'pairs' - thus if one was too unwell to perform, neither of the actors would perform, being replaced by both understudies performing as a 'pair' together. Sometimes the understudies where officially listed as 'alternative cast at certain performances' - this happened with Louis Dempsey and Sean Sloan both at the Duchess Theatre from August to December 2000, and from April to July 2001.
"Stones In His Pockets is that comparative rarity: a play that after rave reviews on the Edinburgh and London fringe triumphantly survives its West End transfer. The subject of Marie Jones's comedy is the multinational heritage industry, and the local cultures that are forced, through poverty, to play up to its distorting desires. Jones has hit on a simple dramatic device that gives her play both its warm, knockabout theatricality and its political edge. Jones swivels the proceedings around so we see the starry main attraction from the perspective of a pair of bit-players - here two literal deadbeat 'extras', the feckless Charlie and Jake... It's true that the show isn't quite as successful in the second half where the mood is darkened by the suicide of a druggy young man, Sean, after a humiliating disappointment with the film company. Part of the trouble is that the living Sean hardly features in the piece, so his tragedy feels like a contrivance. Nonetheless, a wonderfully enjoyable evening." The Independent
"Marie Jones astutely fingers the industry of 'Irishness' as she portrays a Hollywood location film shoot in County Kerry as seen through the eyes of a couple of locally recruited extras. As Jake and Charlie mug their way through their scenes, looking suitably 'dispossessed' as period peasants, we are gradually shown the various ways in which operations like this, rather than sustaining local communities either economically or spiritually, in fact destroy their various hopes and dreams... Jones is a dab hand at alternating her emotional registers: the comedy always comes along to relieve the sombreness, but never undermines or devalues it." The Financial Times
"One of my favourite shows of last year has now arrived in the West End, and is an unequivocal source of joy, laughter, tears and delight... For this ingenious, hilarious piece digs deep and dark while giving us two hours of serious pleasure. All of this goes back to John Ford filming The Quiet Man in County Mayo with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara and ideas of cultural colonialism that run through all Irish drama... The actors, beautifully directed by Ian McElhinney, have a field day... Playing peasants on their own patch gives the duo a reason to reassert their own rights to the land... The evening is a gas. And the fantastic Irish Jig at the wedding scene is enough to please the most demanding, and most cynical, of all Riverdance fans." The Daily Mail
"As funny and engrossing as everyone says it is; it's a two-hander about a Hollywood film being made in Ireland seen from the point of view of two local extras. The two actors play everyone on set, brilliantly diving in and out of various stock characters, such as the glam American film star; the exasperated director, the security slobs and so on. The play gets the taste of a film set brilliantly and sends up Hollywood's image of Oirishness... There's a worrying vein of sentiment surrounding a local suicide, but the show is otherwise a delight from beginning to end... Don't, whatever you do, miss it." The Daily Express
Stones in his Pockets in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 14 July 2003, opened on 21 July 2003, and closed on 1 May 2004, following runs at the Ambassadors Theatre in 2000, and the Duke of York's Theatre from 2000 to 2003
1st West End London Revival
Previewed 1 November 2006, Opened [see below], Closed 2 December 2006 at the Duchess Theatre
The cast featured John Cronin as 'Charlie Conlon' and Conrad Kemp as 'Jake Quinn'.
Directed by David Bownes, based on the original by Ian McElhinney, with designs by Jack Kirwan, and lighting by Graham McLusky.
This West End revival at the Duchess Theatre was originally scheduled to be performed by Simon Delaney as 'Charlie Conlon' and Hugh Lee as 'Jake Quinn' for a limited four month season - with previews from 1 November 2006, opening on 7 November 2006 and closing on 3 March 2007. The casting for this show was by 'pairing' two actors who would perform together. After performing at the first couple of previews, Hugh Lee was struck by a viral infection, and the understudy 'pairing' of John Cronin and Conrad Kemp took over, with the 'Opening Night' postponed to allow time for Hugh Lee to recover and return. Unfortunately Hugh Lee took longer to recover and did not return, with John Cronin and Conrad Kemp continuing in their roles. The producers of the show where unable to find and rehearse a new understudy/alternative cast 'pairing', and because it was imperative for this show to have a back-up 'pairing', the producers took the decision to close the show after a four-week run, and without actually officially 'opening'.
London Revival 2011
Previewed 15 December 2011, Opened 20 December 2011, Closed 4 February 2012 at the Tricycle Theatre (now Kiln Theatre)
The cast featured Jamie Beamish as 'Charlie Conlon', and Owen McDonnell as 'Jake Quinn'.
Directed by Indhu Rubasingham, with designs by Rosa Maggiora, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, and sound by David McSeveney.