Howie the Rookie

Reminiscent of an Irish Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Howie the Rookie is a two-hander exploring the journeys of Howie (Tom Taplin) and the Rookie (Ed Limb) as they become immersed in the seedy underworld of 1990s Dublin. The Revived Emmanuel Dramatic Society's production of this brilliant play is stripped-back and well-executed, if a little unambitious.

With superb acting and a phenomenal script, it's a show that will certainly entertain.

The writing is ingenious. Mark O'Rowe is a wonderfully observant playwright who notices the minutiae of everyday life. Howie's excitement upon spotting the flared nostrils of a woman he fancies (as she, too, becomes sexually aroused by him) is an example of O'Rowe's incredible attention to detail.

Additionally, Tom Taplin and Ed Limb gave fantastic performances in their respective roles, acting with confidence, charisma and subtlety. Their vocal delivery was impressively nuanced: a testament both to their acting ability and the thoughtful direction of Ellie Warr. I must confess, however, that I didn't always believe in Taplin's portayal of Howie Lee. Talented as he was, Taplin's physicality was often so delicate I sometimes struggled to see Howie for the pugnacious fighter O'Rowe paints him to be.

For all the production's strengths, it was a little too pared back. Despite their stated desire for 'authenticity and immediacy' through 'a stripped-back aesthetic', the production could have benefitted through greater use of drama media: lighting, sound, etc. The more frequent inclusion of music, for example, or the occasional use of projections could have helped immersion and emotional investment.

Nevertheless, the company should be congratulated on what was a very solid production. With superb acting and a phenomenal script, it's a show that will certainly entertain.

Reviews by Alan Stewart

Assembly George Square Studios

Save + Quit

★★★★
Paradise in The Vault

Howie the Rookie

★★★
Spotlites

Chinese Women’s Whispers

★★★
Bedlam Theatre

Stack

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

We Live by the Sea

★★★
Zoo Southside

Luna Park

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Someone's after you, you're hunted.' Meet the Howie Lee and the Rookie Lee, two men with nothing in common except a last name and an ill-fated spiral of events. Celebrated Irish playwright Mark O'Rowe's 1999 critically acclaimed drama is a two-hander of two halves, taking a nightmarish dive into the darkest depths of human behaviour. Known for his intense, lyrical verse and blistering imagery, O'Rowe litters this visceral tragedy with ruinous violence and surprising comic twists.

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets