a review
by Cindy Reich
I was smitten before ever seeing the play upon entering the Denver Victorian Playhouse. A lovely house in a residential neighborhood, built in 1911 with a small theater built in the basement. The Bungalow Theater was active for decades and then later was used as a church space and even a meeting room for Girl Scouts. Reborn as the Gaslight Theater in 1956, it gained national attention for many of its plays until 1984. For another number of years, the theater continues as the Denver Victorian Playhouse. Fast forward to 2000, when it was closed down and then 2005 when it was purchased by Wade and Lorraine Wood. It has a charming athomosphere upstairs where refreshments are on hand and one can retire to the original owner”s study, with floor to ceiling glass fronted bookcases filled with scripts of plays. At intermission, homemade cookies, coffee and soft drinks are available and a small bowl awaits donations. The furniture and contents of the downstairs are all period furnishings and takes one back to a nobler, more genteel time. I absolutely had to be torn away to go downstairs to the theater. The seats are the same red, padded ones you sat in as a kid in the movies, with folding chairs set directly in front of the stage. It is cozy and intimate, yet the room seems to expand and you feel you are in a regular theater the moment the actors hit the stage. Stones in His Pockets is the story of what happens in a small, rural town in County Kerry, when an American film crew arrives to make a film. Jake Quinn has just returned from a stint in America, and meets up with Charlie Conlon, as both have acquired jobs as extras on the film. Charlie has fallen on hard times, but has high aspirations and Jake is trying to adjust to life back in Ireland. It is a fast paced and very demanding role for actors Seth Maisel and Austin Terrell, who between them play a total of 15 characters. With simply a change of hat, or the appearance of a pipe, characters change back and forth rapidly, but quite seamlessly. A credit to both actors. Caroline Giovanni, the star of the film, is played to hilarious perfection by Maisel, and the old-timer, Mickey, is scarily perfected by Terrell as he ages instantly before your eyes, before switching back, perhaps, to Aisling, the prissy, condescending third assistant director. This character, more than any other provoked belly laughs from the audience. Although there is much to laugh about in this comedy, it is also poignant in its themes of aspirations versus reality, the glitter of Hollywood and the despair of living in rural Ireland. “Stones In His Pockets” written by Marie Jones, won the Laurence Olivier Award for best Comedy in 2001, and it is easy to see why. Directed in its Denver appearance by Wade P. Wood, it is wry, engaging, fast-paced and laugh out loud funny. A great example of intimate, local theater. Something that all of us should support in a big way. Having been to many productions in New York, Chicago, Dublin and beyond, I cherished the opportunity to see this production in this venue. My only issue is with the accents, but I have found that Americans doing Irish accents invariably end up sounding like something between Daniel Day-Lewis” Belfast accent in “In The Name Of The Father” and the leprechaun from Lucky Charms. But I”ve learned to get over it, and to be fair; a Kerry accent is probably one of the hardest accents to nail in Irish accent-land. So all is forgiven. And actually Seth Maisel does a respectable Scots accent”but if you want to find out where that fits in, you”ll have to see the play!!! “Stones in His Pockets” is playing through April 5 at the Denver Victorian Playhouse for more information, check out the website at: www.denvervic.com

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