American TV and film star Bronson Pinchot will make his West End debut this month in Marie Jones' multi award-winning comedy, Stones in His Pockets, at the Duke of York's Theatre. He and fellow American Christopher Burns were due to assume their roles in the Broadway production, but it was forced to close prematurely following the September 11th terrorist attacks. They will now take over from Kieran Creggan and Kieran Lagan in the London production for a limited run, from 29 October 2001 to 12 January 2002, ahead of a major US tour starting in San Diego, California, next year.

Pinchot, 42, is familiar to American TV audiences for the 1980s sitcom Perfect Strangers, in which he played Balki, as well as for scene-stealing cameos in Hollywood films such as Beverley Hills Cop, The First Wives Club, True Romance and Risky Business. His stage credits include leading roles in The Winter's Tale at New York's Shakespeare Festival and Sondheim's Putting It Together on Broadway with Carol Burnett. Christopher Burns' US stage credits include Pride's Crossing, Fool for Love and Hamlet, while he has appeared on TV in Law and Order.

Pinchot and Burns play, respectively, down-and-outs Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn, as well as more than a dozen other characters between them, in the tale about what happens when a Hollywood film crew moves in on a small Irish village. Despite the US closure, Stones in His Pockets has proved a huge international hit, which can now be seen in Australia, Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, Turkey, South Africa and Italy, while a fresh tour of the United States will begin in early 2002.

Stones in His Pockets 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 for an open-ended run. In addition to Broadway where original stars Conleth Hill and Sean Campion opened in April 2001, international productions are now also showing in Australia, Israel, Uruguay, France and Mexico.

The play'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 has also been named best actor in the Irish Times, Olivier and Whatsonstage.com awards.

Stones in His Pockets is directed by the author's husband, Ian McElhinney, with design by Jack Kirwan and lighting by James C McFetridge. Marie Jones' new musical Weddings Weeuns and Wakes opens in Belfast - again at the Lyric Theatre - on 12 November 2001.

- by Terri Paddock