A Charming And Ambitious “Stones In His Pockets” Hits The WEPG Stage

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Jason Meyers and Jared Sanz-Agero in the WEPG production of “Stones In His Pockets” Photo: John Lamb

West End Players Guild has brought us two fine actors playing upwards of 20 characters in the Marie Jones comedy, “Stones In His Pockets.” A movie company has moved into a sleepy village in County Kerry, Ireland and the locals are clamoring to be extras or maybe even get a speaking part in the filming of this romantic comedy. The catch here is that two actors portray all of the characters in a whirlwind of Irish and Hollywood clashes over culture and personalities.

Jared Sanz-Agero and Jason Meyers play two locals, Charlie and Jake, who take on other characters from other local eccentrics to producers and even the leading lady. A turn or move upstage and suddenly they’ve created whole new personas with voice inflection, body movement or even a change of a vest, hat or even an expansive toss of a scarf. We may see the same character several times but it all comes back to Charlie and Jake as they comment on everything and everybody.

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Jason Meyers and Jared Sanz-Agero break into an impromptu reel in “Stones In His Pockets” at West End Players Guild. Photo: John Lamb

We’ve seen both actors in multiple roles on various stages so their characterizations come from the vault of character actors rather than leading men- though they’ve both played a wide range over the years. In addition, Jake has written a screenplay (who hasn’t?) that he hopes he will be able to present to the producer. Mr. Sanz-Agero, in the meantime, has become the leading lady and has somehow become smitten with Charlie. Through a series of intricate maneuvers, he manages to play both characters along with many others. It’s a marvelous series to watch as both actors play back to back to back characters over the range of about two hours in two acts.

Director Steve Callahan has done a masterful job of keeping all of this chaos straight and relevant to the audience. He has layered the tapestry of the Irish countryside in a thick swath of charm and wit. Special notice to dialect coach, Richard Lewis as well. There may have been a slip here and there but I sure didn’t notice as the actors not only maintained accents but various dialects for various characters. It’s a treat to watch and listen to.

The simple Tracy Newcomb set and costumes work perfectly as two hall trees upstage provide a series of hats to denote different characters along the way and everything else is left to the imagination and the magic worked by our two actors. Nathan Schroeder’s lighting design complements the scene and Cindy Duggan has provided some rough but charming choreography for our two gentlemen.

I remember when the Rep did this show quite a few years ago and how charming it was. They had the whole front of the stage lined up with shoes that the characters took to for their multitude of characters. Just the simple change of a hat, an upturned collar and a change in voice works perfectly for this WEPG production. The play itself is so delightful it speaks for itself.

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Jared Sanz-Agero and Jason Meyers in the West End Players Guild production of “Stones In His Pockets.” Photo: John Lamb

Join the West End Players Guild for a lilting Irish evening of crazy characters baffled and bug-eyed over Hollywood invading their village- and we hope all of the cows are alright as well. See “Stones In His Pockets” through November 19th at WEPG. Give them a call at 314-667-5686 for tickets or more information.

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