If you’re looking for something to do ‘out out’ this month, then Stones In His Pockets at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester, is a solid option.
Marie Jones’ play, directed by Matthew McElhinney, is celebrating its 25 anniversary with this production, which feels as fresh as a daisy.
Hollywood bursts into a rural Irish community to film a historical blockbuster, giving it the Far and Away treatment. Locals Charlie Conlan and Jake Quinn are employed as extras on set, with the entire play resting on the shoulders of just two actors to pull off. This is an additional challenge as it is also an ensemble piece. Both actors jump smoothly from character to character to tell the story – with entertaining results. The audience, at times, is also brought directly into the action, breaking the fourth wall.
Perhaps what is most heart-warming is the way it embraces local community and the multitude of characters it makes up.
Amongst the parody, jokes and jest, the Hollywood dream is not all its cracked up to be. This results in the tragic suicide of a local teenager, spurned by one of the starring actors. The shocking event is sensitively and poignantly handled through the intermittent observations, humour and action of the play.
It’s overall a warm and witty piece, still relevant with its jabs at post #BeKind and arguably cultural appropriation.
The show is safe with Gerard McCabe and Shaun Blaney, who manage to handle this fast-paced play with expert hands on the reins. They never allow it to descend into confusion, entertaining and delighting until the end.
Stones In His Pockets is at the Barn Theatre in Cirencester until 22 August 2021.
Those working for the NHS or St John Ambulance, may claim two free tickets for any Sunday matinee performance throughout the run – subject to availability. Use code THANKYOUNHS when booking and bring valid ID to the performance.
For more information or to book, visit: https://barntheatre.org.uk/
Featured Image: Gerard McCabe and Shaun Blaney in Stones in His Pocket. Photo by Danny Kaan