A year in review: Aftermath of Hanging Bruce-Howard


So here we are again. One year on, another Festival Fringe. Around this time last year, I was cast in the part of Nigel Chapman for Gone Rogue’s ‘Hanging Bruce-Howard’. Having never been to the Fringe before, indeed, I’d never even been to Scotland before; I wasn’t sure exactly what I was letting myself in for. What followed was one of the most insane, demanding and exhilarating experiences of my entire life. A whole summer spent rehearsing, near enough every day, for a show only an hour long. I can honestly say I’ve never known a show so well, I could’ve done it with my eyes closed. With a vigorous fundraising campaign completed, and a successful session of previews, we all headed up on a 10 hour (that’s about 100 games of 20 Questions) coach journey from London to Edinburgh. Then came the best two weeks of my life. Waking up at 9 for a bacon sandwich and some Berocca. Flyering on the mile, in costume, at 10. Performing at midday. Back to the hostel for a siesta and copious amounts of tea. Back onto the mile, this time in our cast clothing, for more flyering. Then seeing shows. I can honestly say we filled every single waking moment by watching shows, except for one or two days when football matches were on. Including a certain England-Scotland game, in which (then) Southampton man Rickie Lambert scored a last minute winner. We were loud that night.

I saw some genuinely incredibly pieces of theatre, and was moved to tears by more than one show. I saw some enjoyable, but not life altering theatre. And I saw some absolute dross. But my only regret from last year is that I didn’t have time to see more. And then suddenly it was over. A whirlwind of going out in the evenings, dancing, performing, being far too tired and taking reviews too personally, and suddenly I was back on the coach to London. I would categorically be back next year. The coach took me further and further away from the beautiful city of Edinburgh. That is until we broke down somewhere near Sheffield. For about three hours. And now here I am at the beginning of it all again, this time on the other side of the table, as a director. The summer’s just starting, and so are rehearsals. I’m ready to do it all again.

Hanging Bruce-Howard, though it received mixed reviews, was the most enjoyable experience I’ve ever had in theatre. This year we’re taking up two shows; a gender-swapped cross-dressing Importance of Being Earnest, and a darkly comic modern American drama called Tape, of which I am one of the directors. Two very different shows, but ones that I’m confident can be equally moving. Those who’ve been before are ready to go again, and those who’ve never been are fresh and excited to try it themselves. Gone Rogue Productions are going up to the Fringe again, and this year it’s going to be even better.


Luke Nicholls, Director of ‘Tape’