“Howie the Rookie” sizzles at BAM

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How it’s New York: Playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the violent youth is something New Yorkers know too.
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Mark O'Rowe's Howie the Rookie  ©Patrick Redmond

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Mark O’Rowe’s Howie the Rookie ©Patrick Redmond

How it’s Irish: Written by Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe and set in Dublin

Watching the electric performance by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor as The Howie Lee and The Rookie Lee in this powerful tone poem of a piece was exhilarating and exhausting!

Set in Dublin, the play centers on the rivalries and violence surround a group of friends from the scruffier side of town.

It had only five performances, from Dec.10-through Dec. 14 as part of the Next Wave Festival.

Vaughan-Lawlor, best known currently for his tour de force performance as “Nidge” in popular Irish TV Drama “Love/Hate”, practically dances through the rapid fire dialaogue. 

Performing on a bare stage, in just a t-hirt and jeans, the vibrant words of O’Rowe literally sizzle forth from Vaughan-Lawlor as he paints the pictures of the joy riding, violent and even sexy exploits of Howie and his cohorts.

Set and costume design by Paul WillsLighting design by Sinéad McKennaSound design by Philip Stewart

©Richard Termine

The play has won many awards, including the George Devine Award when it premiered at the Bush Theatre in London 1999. It also won the Irish Times Best New Play Award and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature.

While this was a very short run, produced by Landmark Productions, and brought to New York with the help of the Irish Arts Center and BAM, I hope it will return for a longer run.

That is, if they can get this extremely busy and popular actor to reprise the role.  You would think it was written specifically for him as it fits his acting style like a glove.

Gritty, real, raw and raucous, this is a must see for anyone who enjoys the incredible power of the spoken word.

 

 

 

 

 

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