Review: Heartfelt and humourous ‘Stones in his Pockets’ a great start to the season

Pour yourself a pint and do a little jig – Stones in his Pockets is a production worth celebrating.

It’s been a long road for the two-hander to make its way to the Persephone Theatre stage. Originally scheduled for 2020, the comedy was canceled on the cusp of its opening by the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Persephone Theatre brought the show back — and two and a half years later, the opening on Friday night proved it was well worth the wait.

Stones in his Pockets follows Irishmen Charlie Conlon (Skye Brandon) and Jake Quinn (Nathan Howe) who sign on as local extras for a Hollywood movie being shot in the Irish countryside. The pair enjoy their minute of fame in their sleepy Irish town until a sudden tragedy interrupts the production and makes both men question stories versus reality — and reckon with both the hope and the pain that comes with holding on to your dreams.

While Brandon and Howe may be credited as playing Charlie and Jake respectively, it most certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Both actors switch between different characters — the movie starlet, the director, a troubled young teen, an elderly extra, and more — with such rapidity it almost makes your head spin.

But only almost. Brandon and Howe show off some remarkable acting chops by flipping between characters with ease, using a masterful physicality to differentiate each person. By the end of the show the audience can tell which characters are appearing simply by how the actors carry themselves or adjust their costumes.

And watching Brandon slip into the seductive starlet while a hapless Howe (as Jake) watched on was positively laugh-out-loud funny.

 

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