Friday, April 23, 1999

Howie The Rookie (Andrews Lane Theatre, Dublin)

I can't find the original review for Howie, but i thought i'd just post this short version...


If the Dublin stage ever saw a more gruesome and graphic description of violence than the one to which audiences of Mark O’Rowe’s Howie the Rookie have been treated, then few can have left the theatre that night with their dinners in their stomachs.

O’Rowe’s hyperviolent pair of linked monologues uses the burgeoning new town of Tallaght as its backdrop, and does absolutely nothing to defeat the location’s reputation for hardcore lifestyles.

Aidan Kelly and Karl Shiels develop an image of weekend of partying and mindless brutality with great finesse, with Shiels in particular turning in a hugely absorbing and charismatic performance as a handsome fool with a bad case of scabies.

As with that other young purveyor of monologues, Conor MacPherson, O’Rowe’s success is in simply telling a story, rather than in orchestrating complex on-stage relationships; that, however, hardly detracts from what is an exceptional – and exceptionally entertaining – night at the theatre.

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