Playmate: ‘Howie The Rookie’ at The Old Fitz

May 30th 2016

Howie The Rookie 2016

Playmate is FBi’s new home for theatre reviews online. Need more drama? Catch Stagefright with Terry Serio each Wednesday at 10am on FBi 94.5FM.


I arrived at The Old Fitz, a lovely pub in Woolloomooloo which doubles as a theatre, fresh from drinks with my ex-boyfriend’s mum. I was feeling good. She still liked me better, and floating on external validation is the best way to truly feel your own power as a critic.

I was there to review Howie The Rookie, the story of two Lees in a poor part of Dublin. The play takes you through a wild night of debauchery and bleak sex, told in the style of that person sitting at the bar that you don’t really want to talk to.

Originally written and directed by Mark O’Rowe, this incarnation was directed by Toby Schmitz, the same handsome face to guide it on its run in 2014. The characters are bleak and the script is pretty indulgent – driven by two big ol’ monologues and featuring two worn seats as a set. But Andrew Henry and Sean Hawkins take on the challenge with the same gusto I show a reuben sandwich. Using the stark stage to showcase their accents and vibrancy, they dive headfirst into some of the more gnarly aspects of human nature.

I would never think to recommend 70 minutes of monologuing – because, fuck – but to watch these two in action is an exciting reminder of theatre at its darkest, and most illuminating. The discomfort you feel watching Hawkins and Henry is purposeful and cunning. It isolates you, desensitising you to horrors through a build-up of some pretty revolting shit.

Howie The Rookie is penetrative theatre. Magnificent, but not for beginners. (Unless you’re a bit of a psychopath, in which case dive right in, sicko.)



WHAT: Howie The Rookie
WHERE: The Old Fitz Theatre
WHEN: Until June 11, 2016
HOW MUCH: $28 – $38 from The Old Fitz website


Read more from Samantha Groth