note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Beverly Creasey
Reviewed by Beverly Creasey
Mark O'Rowe's title "Howie The Rookie" would lead younto believe that Howie is in fact the rookie in this two-monologue play, from Sugan. But Howie and the rookie are played by two different actors --- with separate but interlocking stories. Then again they have identical speeches (about being "dangerous" and about the goings being mighty "mysterious".) Bor sure they're cut from the same cloth. Both are gang members. Both l;ive by the sword and both are preoccupied with nostrils, belching and big women, either all together in the same person or separately.
O'Rowe has borrowed a page or two from "A Clockwork Orange, but moved his bad boys from London to Dublin: they share a hybrid language (polylodges is Burgess; lodgeybodgey is O'Rowe), a heightened awareness, and a distinct taste for blood.
What makes ther Irish play compelling are the performances: Director Carmel O'Reilly gets crackerjack work from Kevin Steinberg and Billy Meleady. "Howie The Rookie" is creepily funny, disturbingly harrowing and a bit perplexing --- especially the truncated ending where we don't find out if a red headed harbinger of death has come for the Rookie or not. What a workout for Steinberg and Meleady, careening from pillar to post, from frying pan into the fire.