Jonny Labey stars as WW1 poet Rupert Brooke at the Fringe

Jonny Labey (EastEnders, In the Heights) leads this poetic and spirited ensemble production, based on the life and works of WWI poet, Rupert Brooke. A man who exploited and despaired at his ability to play the parts required of him is put centre stage for the first time in this dynamic production.
On his death in 1915, Brooke was feted as ‘the voice of England; his patriotic sonnets had caught the imagination of a people in the early days of the war with his voice of early-war naivety. His poetry depicts the struggle to find a voice capable of expressing all he experienced, a struggle shared by all young contemporary artists caught amongst the conflicts of human nature.

Based on his letters and told through his poetry, Verge of Strife goes back to Brooke’s early years, looking at the young poet who embraced Socialism, atheism and the counter-culture of Edwardian England. Described as ‘the handsomest man in all of England’ his looks, charm and wit left a trail of bruised egos and broken hearts right to the upper echelons of British society.

His life and inspirations are reflective of so many classic and contemporary artists and reveal an extraordinary man whose star burned incredibly brightly during his short lifetime.

Joining Jonny Labey on-stage are Fergus Leathem (Game of Thrones), Kirsten Callaghan (Table, Stratford Circus), Emma Barclay (One Million Tiny Plays, Watermill) and Sam Warren (Vessel Curve, Leicester).

Director Quentin Beroud (Richard II, House of Parliament) comments, "I’m amazed we haven’t explored Brooke on stage like this before - he was a mystery that everyone around him, and even he himself, seemed to be constantly trying to figure out. Nick Baldock’s brilliant script is an amazing moving portrait of a flawed genius who's been sidelined by history in a way that he never was during his lifetime. Brooke’s poem are the backbone of the piece and I want to build an ensemble piece around the poet and his words, flashes of his life that reveal more and more about him. I’m really looking forward to putting Rupert Brooke back where he belongs – right in the forefront of people’s minds."

Thursday 4th – Monday 29th August, 14:15
Running time 75 minutes
Location Assembly George Square (Studio Two), Edinburgh, EH8 9LH
Box Office Tickets are available from
Previews: £7
Monday-Thursday: £11 (£10)
Friday-Sunday: £12 (£11)