Computer game simulation takes to the stage in Helmet, a new play by Douglas Maxwell which premieres tonight, 12 March 2002, at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre (previews from 8 March). The co-production between the Traverse and Paines Plough will also tour the UK for two and half months, including a fortnight in May at London's Soho Theatre as part of that venue's Connect Five season of new writing from leading touring companies.

A story of male friendship and the obsessive nature of boys and their toys, Helmet revolves around Sal, owner of The Zone, a failing computer games show, and Roddy who comes to The Zone in search of pure PlayStation oblivion. The format of the piece is based on the combat game Tekken, with hip-hop live choreographed action played out against specially commissioned digital animation and a pulsating soundtrack.

Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell has made an impact in recent years as a chronicler of today's youth and as a theatrical experimenter. His multi award-winning open-air piece Decky Does a Bronco, about five boys competing on a playground swingset, toured parks around the country.

Helmet is directed by Paines Plough associate John Tiffany (who also directed Gregory Burke's Gagarin Way, now in the West End). It is designed by Neil Warmington, with lighting by Nathasha Chivers, sound by Brian Docherty, movement by Allan Irvine and digital animation by Arts in Motion. The two-hander stars Ameet Chana and Tommy Mullins.

Following its run to 30 March at Edinburgh's Traverse Theatre, Helmet will visit Liverpool, Nottingham, Norwich, Manchester, Birmingham, London and Glasgow. It's season at the London's Soho Theatre is from 15 May to 1 June 2002.

- by Terri Paddock


To win tickets to Helmet at Soho Theatre, as part of the Connect Five season, click here.