THE Love/Hate crew were out in force last night to cheer on Nidge as he took to the stage.
Actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor is the star of gritty Dublin play Howie The Rookie and Love/Hate co-stars Peter Coonan (Fran), Laurence Kinlan (Elmo), Aidan Gillen (John Boy) and Robert Sheehan (Darren) all enjoyed a few beers at the Garage Bar in Temple Bar before heading across the road to the show.
Robert Sheehan arrived in a thick-knit cowl-neck cardigan, yellow aviator sunglasses and burgundy suede shoes.
After the show, Aidan Gillen chatted animatedly to Tom and congratulated him on his outstanding performance.
Flame-haired actor Domhnall Gleeson, Vikings star Tadhg Murphy and Wagon's Den comedienne Katherine Lynch also attended the opening night of the show.
Artistic director of the Gate Theatre Michael Colgan was flying high after the success of his inaugural World Actors' Forum and dashed into the theatre at the last minute.
Written by Intermission creator Mark O'Rowe, the play focuses on two Dubs; Howie and Rookie.
The gritty drama was originally staged in 1999, with Karl Shiels and Aidan Kelly in the lead roles.
In this new and innovative staging, currently running at the Project Arts Centre, the show is transformed into a one-man show with Vaughan-Lawlor playing the parts of both Howie and Rookie.
Shiels was there last night and gave the show the nod of approval.
The show's producer Anne Clarke has described the show as "violent, in your face and horribly funny".
Before shooting to fame on RTE's hit drama, Vaughan-Lawlor built up a reputation as one of Dublin's most outstanding theatrical actors.
And Ms Clarke says it is his versatility and range that bagged him the role.
"I know most people will think of the Nidge factor, but there is so much to Tom as an actor. He's electrifying on stage," she said. "We didn't want him because he's good at playing rough and tough characters; we wanted him because he has such breathtaking range and versatility."
Tom said the play was completely different experience to being on the Love/ Hate lot.
"Film and TV are 60m sprints. Doing the play is a marathon run."
The show is running at Project Arts Centre until July 6.