From Both Hips: it's a man's world, but the women are 'very much at the centre’

oung blood

New Irish writer Mark O'Rowe makes his UK debut this fortnight with a show inspired by the tainted machismo of

than a lot of other stuff.‘ claims O‘Rowe with the zeal of a convert. ‘They‘re much more appealing to people who’ve grown up with MTV. because of the speed of

psyche thing of being macho or wanting to be macho. and the futility of that kind of behaviour. It‘s like when you’re eighteen and you go off on this whole Taxi Driver kick —— the lonely man who‘s very deep

Stage whispers

Never mind the Festival: here's the bollocks.

POOR OLD PETER USTINOV has been forced to call off his date at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, on doctor's orders. The veteran actor, writer and raconteur who was to have entertained a captive audience at a one-off fundraiser for the Demarco European Cultural Initiative and the Global Harmony Foundation (of which he is Honorary President), has sadly been grounded on medical advice. Ustinov, 76, had been working on a BBC documentary, which proved more taxing than anticipated.

’IT’S A BOY, Mrs Walker, it's a boy

. . .' or is it? Pete Townsend's classic rock musical Tommy comes to the Edinburgh Playhouse early next year, and production company Pola Jones is currently casting locally for the roles of Young Tommy, aged four and ten. For the younger part, a girl is required, aged six to seven; while ten-year-old Tommy more predictably— is to be cast as a boy aged nine to eleven. Slight build and dark hair are required from the child wannabes. Pinball skills and disabilites of an aural, vocal or optical nature can be left in the hands of Paul Keating, who plays Adult Tommy. Interested parties should contact Mary Gleeson at Pola

Jones on 0171 734 2840. the things. Also. Mamet taps into the whole male .

NOVELTY VALUE will take on a new

E meaning at this year's Edinburgh ; Festival with the arrival of the new Total Theatre awards scheme. At

least six prizes will be awarded at a

ceremony on Sunday 24 Aug for innovation in the field of physical theatre and visual performance.

and I think every man at least can identify with that. ‘To tell the truth.’ O'Rowe adds. ‘I come from films more than theatre. Westerns. cop movies

Scorsese and Mamet. But it's psychodrama he's after, not shoot-outs.

Words: Neil Cooper Hip young literary gun-slingers are everywhere these days. on stage as much as anywhere. A succession of wham-bam hotshots have blown a hole through the reputations of their middle-aged forebears. Sarah Kane’s Blasted and Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping And Fucking (shortly to be seen at the Edinburgh Fringe) represent a new. post- Tarantino. post-Welsh era of drama. Twenty-six-year-old Irishman Mark O’Rowe might not be quite in the same league as far as smack-in-the-mouth shock horrorisms go but. being the age he is. influences and sensibilities are similar. O’Rowe‘s debut play, From Both Hips, which jets into Glasgow’s Tron Theatre next week. is a thrill-packed account of the aftermath of a drugs raid. during which Paul Bolger has been accidentally shot in the hip. By a cop. He becomes obsessed with revenge, but the tough guy sparring is

offset by the four women who surround the lives of

the two male protagonists. This makes for something outside the usual displays of cartoon machismo.

‘The women are very much the centre of the play.‘ O’Rowe maintains. ‘All this futile male thing is going on around them. so we see their responses to it.’

The conflict is told in taut. snappy dialogue that bodyswerves soliloquies. slowly raising the stakes until the suppressed violence goes through the Richter Scale. Sounds familiar. O’Rowe wouldn’t be a David Mamet fan by any chance, would be?

‘His plays just seem more alive and less stagnant

12 THE usr 25 Jul—7 Aug 1997

'To tell the truth I come from films more than theatre. Westerns, cop movies —- anything with guns —- were my favourites growing up. I decided to transpose that into a domestic setting.’ Mark O'Rowe

anything with guns were my favourites growing tip. so I decided to try and transpose that sense of the Wild West or New York into an almost domestic setting. The play works with the conventions of a film

events lead psychologically. rather than people just blowing each other‘s heads off.‘

first outing for Fishamble. the artists formerly known as Pigsback Theatre Company. who visited Scotland a few years back with a play called The As/i Fire. The new name comes from Dublin‘s liishamble Street. noted for housing the city's first theatre to present solely new Irish work. Now the conch has passed on to liishamble the company. who are developing work with a posse of young writers.

O’Rowe‘s play which has earned him a widely touted ‘young hotshot” tag started life as an unsolicited manuscript sent to the company office. ‘Normally people get involved in the business and get to know people. bill I didn‘t know anybody.‘ he recalls. ‘The only thing I had was the company‘s address. and now I’ve ended tip with this play about how childish we can get in our search for vengeance.‘ From outlaw to pistol-packin‘ pardner. ()‘Rowe is now riding shotgun on the Fishamble wagon.

From Both Hips is at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 30

Jul-Sun 10 Aug.

With over 50 shows already

9 entered, the panel of judges, which

includes The List’s theatre editor Andrew Burnet, will have its work

. , . . cut out. thriller though I in more interested in where these »

CASH FOR CHUCKLES is also on offer at the Festival in a new

From lint/i Hips is the (0'?ng prize' the LWT comedy j Writing Award. Set up by Humphrey : Barclay, LWT’s controller of comedy,

and administered by the same team

as the Perrier Award, the LWT

Award will be presented on Monday

25 Aug to the writer(s) of the best

comedy playscript, and comprises . E1000, a trophy and the possibility of a television commission.

Peter Ustinov: grounded