Stones In His Pockets, which opened last night at the Golden Theatre, is an amusing little comedy with pretensions to some sort of serious drama. Up until the last few seconds of the first act, when the meaning of the title is revealed, you're sure you have been enjoying a light, delightful spoof about a Hollywood film on location in rural Ireland as seen from the locals point of view, and possibly the best comedy of the season.
Act two, however, never successfully recaptures the great good humor of the first act, dealing as it now must with shattered dreams and lives destroyed by American popular culture, and descends into parody to provide the necessary laughter as counterpoint to the more serious goings on.
Playwright Marie Jones doesn't seem to be able to control the quick turns the plot must take in the second act, and at times Stones In His Pockets begins to resemble an awkward farce. This is a small complaint, to be sure, but a problem nonetheless. Her talent is surely unique, as the long list of her successful plays will attest, and Stones did win the 2001 Olivier Award for Best Comedy and several other major awards.
Still, it's the funniest play on Broadway right now and well worth the visit for the performances of Conleth Hill (as Charlie Conlon) and Sean Campion (as Jake Quinn). Hill and Campion play over a dozen different, well established and easily recognizable characters with at most a quick change of a few bits of costuming. The virtuosity of their performances is always subtle, making the evening seem as effortless as breezing down to the local pub for a beer and to exchange wild tales with two of your more outrageous friends. Ian McElhinney's direction supports their strengths in a wonderfully sure-handed fashion.
Stones In His Pockets by Marie Jones. Directed by Ian McElhinney. Starring Sean Campion and Conleth Hill. Design by Jack Kirwan. Lighting design by James McFetridge.
Theatre: Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue
Audience: May be inappropriate for children 10 and under. Children under 4 are not permitted in the theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes, with one 15 minute intermission
Schedule: Tuesday through Saturday 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM
Ticket prices: Orchestra and Front Mezzanine $65 Rear Mezzanine $45 and $30 In addition, a $1.25 Facilities Fee will be added to the price of each ticket. The Facilities Fee is applicable at all points of sale.
Tickets online: Tele-charge
Tickets by phone: Tele-charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - Inside the NY metro area (212) 239-2969 Outside the NY metro area (888) 268-2020
Tickets in person: Box Office hours Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 8 PM, Sunday Noon to 6 PM
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Tickets by snail mail: Stones In His Pockets, PO Box 998, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0998 Each order must include an additional $1.25 per ticket facilities fee.