6:12 put Hollywood to shame at Harrogate Theatre

6:12 cast members Sam Newsome and Michael Garside on stage at Harrogate Theatre Studio in the production of Stones in his Pocket.

6:12 theatre group, Stones in his Pocket, Harrogate Theatre Studio.

As if he’d had a premonition in pre-production, Harrogate theatre company 6:12’s maverick founder Michael Garside could not have chosen a better time to revive Marie Jones’s comic drama Stones in his Pockets.

The very week the scandal broke worldwide over film producer Harvey Weinstein, there the versatile Michael is, dashing round a small stage at Harrogate Theatre in a show exposing the dirty realities of power relationships in Hollywood.

The fact this engaging and multi-faceted script was first performed in 1996 and was a West End hit a full 15 years ago, says a lot for the unchanging nature of the movie business.

6:12 always like to challenge themselves and this time round Michael and co-star Sam Newsome tackle a total of 15 roles, remarkably, often swapping who plays who from scene to scene.

Such is the character of this tiny but always ambitious company, it usually likes to challenge audiences, too.

Not this time. Despite exposing the earthy underbelly of movie stardom, this pithy but poignant story of how the arrival of a Hollywood film crew in a quiet Irish village effects the locals offers up sheer entertainment from start to finish.

Perfectly put together with the help of assistant director and stage manage Frances Sellars, 6:12’s high wire act relies, ultimately, on the hard-working two-man cast.

Fortunately, Michael and Sam's performances are remarkable and not just for 'amateurs'. Bearing in mind, the scale of the task, I'd wager there's many a household name would struggle in the same situation.

This engaging Harrogate duo may be playing extras but they give star performances throughout this timely production.

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