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PGC Blog
Stones in His Pockets at the McCarter

Ralph Malachowski

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posted by Ralph Malachowski on Feb 5, 2018 10:30am | comments


Stones in His Pockets, a play by Marie Jones, directed by Lindsay Posner, is now at the Berlind Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center until February 11.

Written in 1996, Stones in His Pockets is (as stated in the program), set in a scenic spot near a small village in County Kerry, Ireland. The plot is an American film company is shooting a drama using the people in the town as extras, and paying them handsomely. As is often stated during the course of the play, they are given great food, and a hundred pounds a day for several weeks. Much is made of a film star who bedevils the men of the town and is indirectly the cause of one young man’s suicide. That suicide creates a rift between the visitors and the people who live there and are related to the teen.

We experience the story through the two amazing actors who play all the roles. By some accounts, 15, by others, 20 or 25. Garrett Lombard and Aaron Monaghan play Americans, Irishmen, an American bombshell, and everyone else. It’s a fascinating acting feat that only accomplished actors can attempt, and both men acquit themselves admirably. Transitioning from one character to the next often happens at lightning speed. For example, as one actor turns in a circle, he delivers dialogue by several characters. A marvelous example of split-second timing and astonishing memory. Kali Quinn is credited as Movement Consultant, and she must have had a hand in the apparently seamless character transitions. Esteemed director Lindsay Posner brought his expertise from The Royal Court Theatre, The Menier Chocolate Factory, and West End triumphs. The beautiful set by theatre legend Beowulf Boritt perfectly framed Lombard and Monaghan. Borritt’s closing film was a masterpiece of tongue-in-cheek cheekiness, bringing some much needed humor to close the evening.

Touted as an uproarious comedy, Stones in His Pockets had its moments to be sure, but the first act closes with a suicide. A young man drowns by walking into the sea with stones in his pockets to weigh him down, hence the title. The audience laughed out loud at several points when the American bombshell came into play, as well as laughing at other clichés, like an elderly man who moved as if he sat all the while in an imaginary chair. Another cliché was one of the two associate directors who appeared to be a flaming stereotype of a homosexual, mincing and prancing about the stage. A curious artefact from two decades ago, considering this night was Pride Night at the McCarter. The McCarter features a pre-performance party for the LGBTQ community during each run of its season. This minstrel show character tended to cast a pall over the rest of a finely-acted, entertaining play.

If you love the theatre, see the phenomenal Garrett Lombard and Aaron Monaghan create an acting tour-de-force in Stones in His Pockets.

Stones in His Pockets is at the McCarter Theatre Center, 90 University Place, Princeton, NJ, until February 11. For more information, call 609-258-2787 or visit

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