Sunshine on Leith

Of course there would have to be a torrential downpour on the day I viewed Sunshine on Leith, sadly only adhering to the typical fickleness of Scottish weather that betrayed the name of the musical. That, however, did not stop Captivate Theatre from accomplishing a memorable rendition of the jukebox musical, profiling the life of two homecoming soldiers Ally and Davy returning to Scotland to rattle out some Proclaimers lyrics.

The result is superb.

As a nostalgia musical aimed at Leithers and those from Edinburgh, some of the material is only available to locals who will understand the customs and history of their city. Unsurprisingly, this crowd was predominantly made up of pensioners. As a Leither myself, I found that the musical made sure to explain the fine but important distinction between Leith and Edinburgh, even though this was merely a reproduction of the original 2007 musical. Indeed, it stays truer to the broadway version than Dexter Fletcher’s 2013 film adaptation by maintaining the flamboyant comedic elements. Some points of the humour include the delay of the tram project and a cheeky remark about the outcome of the Scottish referendum, demonstrating that Captivate Theatre have kept up to date with local history.

The sound effects are realistic, as is the use of props (if you’re a Hibs fan then you’re in luck). Praise goes especially to the chorus who are great at inhabiting several roles and becoming different people in a matter of seconds, though it is fairly easy to discern the Scots from the imitators in the cast. Nonetheless, all the actors make a great effort to pull off a convincing Scottish accent that would no doubt fool the tourists.

The second half feels more rehearsed than the first in that the cast are prepared to go out on a limb for the more heartfelt moments towards the climax, particularly the uplifting rendition of the titular track Sunshine On Leith that is followed up by The Proclaimers’ number one hit Five Hundred Miles. Even the most despondent members in the audience cracked a smile and joined in the singing.

Without sacrificing the quality of the acting or the music, the cast make do with the best they have, and the result is superb.

Reviews by Stuart Mckenzie

The Jazz Bar

The Katet Plays Stevie Wonder

★★★★
Scottish Poetry Library

Umbrella Man

★★★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

Roast Battle Edinburgh

★★★★★
Laughing Horse @ City Cafe

Falling With Style

★★★
Assembly George Square Theatre

Andrew Maxwell: Shake a Leg

★★★
Laughing Horse @ Harry’s Southside

Snowflake It 'Til You Make It

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Captivate Theatre’s five-star sell-out show returns to the Famous Spiegeltent for the duration of the Fringe. ‘I defy you not to be uplifted by this production. The joy exuding from these performers is infectious and it’s a pleasure to have such a significant local work present at the Fringe. Life successfully affirmed’ (BroadwayBaby.com, 2014). ‘Unlike the slightly sanitised film of the same name, the stage show captures the essence of the port. The show is raucous, humorous and features obviously ordinary people living real lives’ (EdinburghGuide.com, 2014).