Owen Sharpe and Kevin Trainor

Stones in His Pockets

Malvern Theatres


The echoes of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead or Waiting for Godot performed in the style of the Reduced Shakespeare Company are strong in this play at Malvern this week.

Two actors performing multiple characters with quick-fire changes, two characters who are mere extras on a Hollywood film set in rural Ireland, provide the substance of a drama in which the two cultures clash.

Owen Sharpe and Kevin Trainor are fundamentally the Irish lads Jake and Charlie, but swap into numerous other characters to tell the story. However, the element of story is weak. It develops somewhat more in Act Two, when the tensions created by the suicide of their friend Sean, who walks into the sea with ‘stones in his pockets’, bring out a clearer narrative.

The funeral interrupts the schedule of the producers of the film who are working to a tight and fast-approaching deadline. The life of the play comes largely from the earthy Irish characters and the hasty switches in role, and therefore voice and accent.

Sharpe and Traynor bring great energy to the show. Owen’s physicality and Kevin’s strong delineation of characters, such as the film’s star Caroline Giovanni, showcase their great talent. However, the limitations of the plot restrict the success of the piece overall.

 ‘Who wants to go to see a film about a suicide and get depressed?’ asks one of them ironically. ‘Isn’t that why we have the theatre?’  There is a general sense of gloom and shattered dreams permeating the piece, echoing the brokenness of the American Dream.

The simplicity of the set designed by Peter Mackintosh, and the excellent lighting plot designed by Howard Harrison, provide a strong context for the two actors to deliver their lively and versatile performances. But the show overall fails to soar above the clever and witty but superficial observation of earthy characters and conflicts. To 27-04-19.

Tim Crow


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