Jean-Paul van Cauwelaert and Simon Delaney (pictured) will form the final West End cast of Marie Jones’ multi award-winning comedy, Stones in His Pockets, at the New Ambassadors Theatre.

From 23 February, they take over from Hugh Lee and Rupert Degas as down-and-outs Jake Quinn and Charlie Conlin as well as a host of other colourful characters in the story about what happens when a Hollywood film crew moves in on a small Irish village. They will continue until 15 May 2004, when Stones in His Pockets will now close, after four years in the West End.

The bittersweet comedy 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 New Ambassadors Theatre in May 2000 and then on to the Duke of York's in August 2000. It moved back to the New Ambassadors in July 2003. Last December, producers announced that the show would close on 21 February, but that date was pushed back after an increased demand for tickets (See News, 16 Jan 2004).

Stones in His Pockets’s many awards include the Whatsonstage.com, 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 was also been named best actor in the Irish Times, Olivier and Whatsonstage.com awards.

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 countries around the globe. A screen version, starring Conleth Hill and Dylan Moran, begins filming in August 2004.

The stage two-hander is directed by the author's husband, Ian McElhinney, with design by Jack Kirwan and lighting by James C McFetridge. It’s presented by Paul Elliott, Adam Kenwright and Pat Moylan.

- by Terri Paddock