at the Civic, Chelmsford
Stones in his Pockets has been showing for ten years, now. The lights go down, we listen to the flea-pit adverts, we stare at the cinemascope row of shoes beneath the screen.
Like thousands of audiences before us, we are here to marvel at the skills of the two actors [ David Caves and Patrick Kellner on this occasion, I think - someone forgot to put the programmes in the van...] who between them bring to life the stars, the villagers, the extras and the production team shooting The Quiet Valley in County Kerry. There’s Aisling, Third Assistant Director, and Simon her superior, John the weary dialogue coach, Jock from security, Caroline the glamorous leading lady, Clem, the English director, and Old Mickey, who remembers John Ford’s Quiet Man way back in '52.
Not to mention Charlie and Jake, the two extras, each with disappointments in his past and dreams for his future.
Though there are darker themes – exploitation and the fragility of aspirations – and tragedy – the suicide of Sean the local lad which gives the piece its title – “people don’t go to the cinema to be depressed, that’s what the theatre’s for”, and what we always take away is the tour-de-force that brings all these characters to life, turn, turn, and Simon becomes Caroline, Fin becomes Brother Gerard. And they all appear at once, it seems, in the Line Dance and the curtain calls at the end, as “the extras become the stars …”