Fond of Rabbie

Feb 21 2018 | By More

Nonsense Room hit Roxy with Burns show

Ae Fond Kiss, Nonsense Room Productions’ take on the life of Robert Burns, is touring to the Assembly Roxy for two performances only, this Friday, 23 February 2018.

The show is a musical journey through the major events of Burns’ life from his birth to his death, featuring some of his most enduring poems and songs.

Shawney Henderson who plays Highland Mary. Pic Nonsense Room

It’s written by the company’s founders, Simon Beattie and Bruce Strachan, who were also behind its popular adaptations of Hairy MacLairy and Shark in the Park.

If features a cast of four with Paul Beesom as Rabbie Burns, guiding his audience through the story with quirky commentary as well as amusing and poignant interactions with the key characters to his life story along the way.

Glasgow-based actor and singer Shawney Henderson is playing the role of Mary Campbell, known as Highland Mary, with whom Burns had a brief affair in 1786 and to whom he dedicated three poems.

Henderson told Æ: “We have all had so much fun in rehearsals. I feel it’s a genuinely funny show and I have absolutely loved singing Burns songs.”


It is not all knockabout comedy however. Burns’ life was often hard and his affair with Mary ended in tragedy.

“One of the songs I sing in the show is called Highland Mary,” Henderson adds. “I find it quite emotional at times because the love story between Robert Burns and Mary didn’t end well and you can really feel his grief through his words in the song.”

The company is completed by Gilchrist Muir as Creech, Burns’ Edinburgh publisher, and Zoe Halliday who plays both Burns’ wife in Ayrshire, Jean Armour, and Nancy McLehose with whom he corresponded while in Edinburgh and for whom he wrote Ae Fond Kiss.

For every powerfully moving and tragic episode in Burns’ life, there is an equally powerful but uplifting moment. Burns time in Edinburgh is remembered for him being feted around the well-to-do drawing rooms of the city.

“When we sing Auld Lang syne as an ensemble it feels amazing to be part of the cast,” says Henderson. “We had one show at the Macrobert in Stirling and the audience were all singing along and holding each other’s hand it was quite special.”

Listings and links

Ae Fond Kiss
Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU.
Friday 23 February 2018.
Two performances: 2.30pm & 7.30pm.
Special 2-for-1 ticket offer, quote “RABBIE” when ordering tickets:

Ae Fond Kiss
Howden Park Centre,  Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU.
Saturday 24 February 2018.
Evening: 7.30pm.
Tickets and details:

Nonsense Room Productions on Facebook:



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Comments (2)

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  1. Isabella ferguson says:

    Saw your show Ae Fond Kiss Friday evening at Roxy. Had no idea who were performing and what format production would take. Absolutely loved it . One of the most entertaining and poignant shows on Burns I’ve seen. Just felt it was a pity you had so few in the audience and felt it should have been advertised and marketed more. I found out it was on just by chance and many of my friends I know would have loved it. Congratulations !

  2. Tony Banner says:

    I went to the performance of “Ae Fond Kiss” at Howden in Livingston. First time I have been to this type of show & thought it was fantastic. I’m a great fan of Robert Burns or anything to do with him which is why I went along. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would go to see it again, great show.