Dumfries and Galloway teacher, nurse and classroom support worker who are rocking the world’s biggest Fringe festival
By day they are a teacher, nurse and educational support worker but by night they rock the crowds in one of the Edinburgh Fringe’s most colourful cabarets.

Tom Cuddihy
Tom Cuddihy

Joanne Blain and Lynn and Tom Cuddihy are key members of the band which plays for Le Haggis, the adult show from Dumfries, which has been wowing audiences and winning five star reviews and celebrity praise.
Radio 4 comedian Mervyn Stutter, who’s Pick of the Fringe is one of the event’s most popular institutions and now in its 24th year, has likened the Le Haggis band to a Scottish version of the Pogues.
He described them as: “Hugely entertaining – it’s Rabbie Burns on a night out with the Pogues.”
Katharine Kavanagh, critic for This is Cabaret, said: “A show that celebrates the best of traditional and modern Scottish culture … what a treat Le Haggis turns out to be!
“A real cabaret of musical and physical skills, presented with verve, humour, elegance and rock and roll.”
And much of that that rock and roll – a pulsing Celtic rhythm interspersed with gentle love songs and ballads, is courtesy of Jo, Lynn and Tom. The music ranges from classics by Rabbie Burns to modern pop hits and all with a contemporary feel.

In normal life Tom is the principal teacher of physics and maths at Dalbeattie High School. While some of the pupils know he is in a band, they might be surprised to know exactly how he has spent his summer holidays.
“The children know I’m in Edinburgh, but I don’t think they know what I’m doing up here,” Tom said.
However, August 2015 is turning out to be a memorable time for him as Novantae, his band in Dumfries and Galloway, has just released its first album entitled For Us.
He and Lynn, his wife of 26 years, also have their own duet called Cordah which has just put out its first song September Boy.
In Le Haggis he plays bass guitar and performs a solo of Deacon Blue’s 1987 hit Dignity.
For Lynn, Le Haggis and Cordah mark a comeback from more than a decade during which she refused to sing a note.
Lynn said: “I used to love singing but was put off 11 years ago when I was doing karaoke – singing Needles and Pins – and heard myself and it didn’t sound good. It didn’t help that the compere

The Band
The Band

then said ‘well done Lynn, it just shows that you don’t have to be able to sing to join in’. I was mortified.”
Things changed rapidly after she was persuaded to join Dumfries Community Choir and was soon picked out for her excellent voice.
The life on stage is a far cry from her day job as a mental health nurse working with children and young adults and raising awareness of mental health issues.
But there is a real buzz about being part of a show which has brought together local people from Dumfries and Galloway with international performers.
She said: “It’s all about mucking in together. We work together, share accommodation, do all sorts of jobs to get the show working – like I do a lot of the makeup. We really support each other.”
Jo, like the others, will be commuting back and forth to Edinburgh once her holidays are over towards the end of the run.
The hairdresser turned educational support worker from Lockerbie also got noticed through Dumfries Community Choir.
And like the others she has been part of Le Haggis since its birth as part of Big Burns Supper more than two years ago.
Jo said: “I joined the choir after being invited along by a friend and after a short time I was hauled out to do a solo piece. Before that I’d only ever really sung in the shower.”
But she turned out to have such a good voice she is now winning applause from international audiences.
She said: “I get such a buzz from Le Haggis and certainly now that we have taken it up to the Fringe at Edinburgh. It’s a dream come true for me.
“I still have to pinch myself to realise that I’m here in a big show at the world’s biggest Fringe festival. It’ll probably only become real when we go home in September.”
Graham Main, Le Haggis artistic director, said: “Le Haggis is proving a huge success at the Fringe and much of that is thanks to Lynn, Tom, Jo and the rest of the band.
“We’ve been working together and building Le Haggis for more than two years and it’s fantastic to be able to take it to the Fringe where it’s being seen by people from all round the world.
“Our community roots are so important and the fact that singers from the Dumfries Community Choir are up here now, working with some of the hottest acts around, is simply brilliant.”
The show has also attracted praise from Martin Hall, TV arts commentator, who said: “Unmissable. Le Haggis captures the essence of the Fringe, a fusion of Celtic music, Burns and hunky acrobatics.”
The Electric Theatre Workshop, which produces Le Haggis, was successful at last year’s Fringe with its play Blood Orange.
The show has been seen at a variety of locations round Scotland and is a centrepiece of the annual Big Burns Supper festival in Dumfries where it has attracted sell-out audiences and excellent reviews.
• Le Haggis at the Fringe is a collaboration with All or Nothing.


Venue: Assembly George Square Gardens, Spiegeltent, EH8 9JZ
Time: 21.30 Running Time: 75 mins
Dates: 6-30 August (excluding 17 & 24 August). Main previews 6 & 7 August.
Tickets: £15 and £16.50
Bookings: assemblyfestival.com, 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly Roxy, Assembly George Square and Assembly Checkpoint or Edinburgh Fringe at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=le%20haggis