It may be a bad time for Irish cattle as foot and mouth and mad cow disease ravage Europe, but the beefy beasties provide some important local color in Marie Jones' Olivier Award-winning comedy Stones in His Pockets, starting previews at the John Golden Theatre March 23. Opening night is set for April 1.
Stones in His Pockets is seen through the perspective of Charlie and Jack, two down-on-their luck Irishmen (played by Hill and Campion) working as extras on a Hollywood film being shot in the Irish countryside. The close-knit rural community around them is uprooted and in some ways destroyed by the arrival of the Hollywood cast and crew. Among the characters Hill and Campion portray are Caroline Giovanni, the spoiled and horny American diva; Mickey, the last remaining extra from "The Quiet Man"; and Clem, the hunchbacked director.
The play was inspired by Jones' own experience as an actor in films shot in Ireland, including 1993's “In the Name of the Father,” starring Daniel Day Lewis. Jones' other plays include A Night in November, Women on the Verge of HRT and the sequel Women on the Verge.Get a Life.
Hill and Campion were both unknowns before Stones. Hill appeared in Andrew Hinds' The Starving in 1998 and on "Blue Heaven" in the UK and both performed together in Waiting for Godot in Belfast, but Stones has made both actors into stars. Ian McElhinney directs in the U.S. as he did in London. Also an actor, the Belfast born McElhinney played Barnardo in Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet," did a stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has several roles in British TV and film.
Interestingly, the Broadway run won't be the American premiere for the play. Stones finished off the Magic Theatre in San Francisco's 1998-99 season, replacing the previously announced Quills (which is now a feature film starring Academy Award nominee Geoffrey Rush). There, the Stones leads were played by Kurt Reinhardt and Mark Phillips.
Tickets are $30-$65. For reservations, call (212) 239-6200.