Howie the Rookie tipped to be ‘one of the must-see shows of the summer’
LOVE/Hate fans can get up close and personal with gangland crime lord King Nidge this summer, when he takes to the stage as another edgy Dubliner.
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (35) will be appearing at The Project Arts Centre to star in gritty Dublin play Howie The Rookie.
Written by Intermission director Mark O’Rowe, the play tells the story of inner city Dubs Howie and Rookie.
According to producer Anne Clarke, it’s “violent, in your face and horribly funny”.
Given Tom’s award-winning depiction of gun-toting scumbag Nidge, it’s easy to see why he nabbed the role in the dark play.
But Anne says it’s Tom’s versatility, not “the Nidge factor”, that landed him the role.
“I know most people will think of the Nidge factor, but there is so much to Tom as an actor. He’s electrifying on stage.
“We didn’t want him because he’s good at playing rough and tough characters; we wanted him because he has such breathtaking range and versatility.”
In the play, Howie and Rookie recall a series of seedy events that occur over the course of two nights.
The play was first staged in 1999 as a two-hander, starring Karl Shields and Aidan Kelly.
But O’Rowe wants Tom to carry the show entirely on his own. “Mark wanted it to become a one-man show and thought Tom would be perfect,” Anne explains. “The play hasn’t changed, but obviously the staging will have to.
“They met this time last year to discuss it and had one of those wonderful meetings where everything falls into place straight away.
“Tom has been a big fan of the play for years and jumped at the opportunity to do it. We knew he would be filming Love/Hate so we worked around that schedule.”
While most punters only know Tom from his hard-nosed persona in Love/Hate, the softly spoken actor has been treading the boards for years and is highly regarded in the theatrical world.
The play – which opens at the Project Arts Centre on June 17 – is tipped to be the must-see show of the summer.
“It’s a great story and really resonates with people,” artistic director of the Project Arts Centre, Cian O’Brien, said.
“We wanted to do something for an Irish audience – a play that could connect.
“I think it’s going to be great; I’d say we’ll be jammers come June. And it will be a great chance to get some of the Love/Hate fans into the theatre.”