Stones in his Pockets

JOHN LAWSON Chameleon duo Malcolm Adams and Hugh Lee showed Norwich just why Marie Jones's comedy has been showered with awards wherever it has played.

JOHN LAWSON

Chameleon duo Malcolm Adams and Hugh Lee showed Norwich just why Marie Jones's comedy has been showered with awards wherever it has played.

As a pair of film extras, Charlie and Jake, pulling in £40 a day on the set of a Hollywood production being made in their small village in Co Kerry, their every action reveals more of lives beset by disappointment.

But while Charlie and Jake have little future, the golden carrot of a life in the movies but a mirage of unattainable opportunity, Adams and Lee grab the chance the play gives them to turn in a couple of virtuoso performances.


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This may be a two-hander, but the duo portrayed over a dozen other characters between them – each dazzlingly different from the last.

In the curtain call, the first-night audience at the Theatre Royal responded with renewed and re-emphasised applause as they zapped between a number of the “principals”.

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Notable among them were Lee's Sean, the drug-fuelled youngster whose first-act suicide adds a dark and tragic edge to proceedings, and Adams's Old Mickey, the doubled-up old retainer who knows the rules of the “extras” business.

But the finest portrayals are the two female characters, Lee's flighty lovey of a production assistant and Adams's prima donna star.

Such is the total transformation that each character holds his or her individual place in the consciousness of the audience.

The whole is beautifully observed in a gentle and consistently-funny exploration of the gulf between tinseltown fantasy and small-town reality.

Highly recommended.

t Stones in his Pockets continues until Saturday, April 12. Box office: 01603 630000.

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