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Stones in His Pockets 

Despite a talented cast, this play about two men who become buddies on a Hollywood movie set sinks under the weight of its clichés

Wednesday, May 1 2002
Written by Irish playwright Marie Jones and directed by her husband, Ian McElhinney, Stones in His Pockets is about two men who become friends while acting as extras for a big Hollywood movie that's to be filmed in their meager Irish village. (The premise feels a bit like David Mamet's State and Main, but the writing hardly compares.) The cast consists of two actors -- Bronson Pinchot and Christopher Burns -- who play the two blokes, Charlie and Jake, as well as an array of other characters with whom they come into contact on the movie set. Pinchot (of TV's Perfect Strangers) and Burns are quite good in their various roles, which include that of a shallow American actress from the South named Caroline Giovanni, a Scottish meathead bodyguard, and an English director with a nasty stick up his bottom. They aptly morph from one person to the next with merely a shift in posture or facial expression. At times, the play is funny, but the humor derives more from slapstick than from the script, which is filled with clichés and unbelievable melodramatic nonsense -- so much so that it finds itself on the same literary trajectory as the Hollywood script it attempts to mock. Over the course of two long hours, the glamorous Ms. Giovanni tries to get it on with the stargazing Jake, Charlie tries to traffic his own screenplay, and Jake's junkie cousin Sean drowns himself by putting stones in his pockets (hence the title) on account of Ms. Giovanni's inconsiderate dismissal the night before. Sean's funeral and the wannabe-heartfelt exchanges that follow between newfound buds Charlie and Jake ("I should've done something, sniff, sniff ...") are painfully trite, and the ending (they decide to write a screenplay together) is achingly predictable.

About The Author

Karen Macklin


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