Following its closure announcement last month (See News, 19 Dec 2003), demand for tickets to Stones in His Pockets has increased so much that producers have decided to keep Marie Jones' multi award-winning Irish two-hander on at the New Ambassadors Theatre. It was due to close, after nearly four in the West End, on 21 February 2004, but it will continue booking until at least 15 May.

The bittersweet comedy, about what happens when a Hollywood film crew moves in on a small Irish village, started life at Belfast's Lyric Theatre in April 1999 before steamrolling on to success in Dublin and Edinburgh. It was first seen in London at the fringe Tricycle Theatre before transferring to the West End's New Ambassadors Theatre in May 2000 for a limited twelve-week season and then on to the larger Duke of York's in August 2000.

In addition to extensive UK and international tours, Stones in His Pockets has also been mounted on Broadway, been translated into 16 languages and been performed in more than 20 cities around the globe. The London production transferred back to the New Ambassadors in July 2003 (See News, 30 May 2003).

The play's many awards include the, Olivier and Evening Standard awards for Best Comedy and a Special Achievement Award from the Outer Critics Circle in New York. Original star Conleth Hill has also been named best actor in the Irish Times, Olivier and awards. (Hill is currently appearing at the National in Michael Frayn's Democracy, for which he's been nominated a second time for's Best Actor award. Click here to vote!)

The current West End cast are Rupert Degas and Hugh Lee, who play down-and-outs Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn as well as all other parts between them. Stones in His Pockets is directed by the author's husband, Ian McElhinney, with design by Jack Kirwan and lighting by James C McFetridge.

- by Terri Paddock