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The Gift of Stones - Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond

JIM Grace’s ‘The Gift of Stones has been adapted for the stage by Nobby Dimon of this year’s tour by North Country Theatre. The usual warm, friendly welcome atmosphere is created by the cast as they move around the audience in the bar area selling programs before the show and continue this from the stage as they wait for the final audience members to take their seats.

The Gift of Stones is set in the late Neolithic period of the Stone Age, just as it begins to emerge into the Bronze Age. It follows the lives of a family of flint knappers as we see the father, played by Nobby Dimon, narrating stories of his younger days, played by Mark Cronfield, with action moving between the father as his older and younger self. The set is sparse, made up of antlers and tress stumps. The antlers are made excellent use of as they turn into weapons, a hawk, ship and a superb scene of geese in flight. The tree stumps were more cumbersome as they were often moved around the stage by the cast, which slowed the flow of the action. The recorded music was haunting but felt repetitive. Costumes by Alice Lawson were excellent as was the digital back cloth designed by Andy Thursfield, add to the well-designed lighting by Tony Wilcox the show was technically excellent. The overall production felt clunky and lacked pace, that said the acting throughout is excellent especially Vivenne Garnett as the Daughter and Doe. The stories are interesting with my favourite scene being the catching of the geese and I am sure the pace will pick up during the run.

The Gift of Stones can be seen at St Mary’s Parish Hall, Barnard Castle on Friday 16th October

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