Who could have thought in 2007 that an in-house Dundee Rep production with the music of The Proclaimers would become a highly successful movie, tour countless times, and win many awards. The key to the success of Sunshine on Leith is firmly routed in The Proclaimers' sound and in the band’s ability to tell Scotland’s story through emotionally charged vocals and powerful music.
Pitlochry Festival Theatre has become a real staple in Scottish theatre. Following on from a busy summer season with Gypsy being the musical offering, this winter the theatre revives its celebrated production of Sunshine of Leith. Sunshine on Leith follows Davy and Ally, who return home from serving in Afghanistan and try to settle back into Scottish life. Ally returns home to his girlfriend Liz, and Ally then sets up Davy with Liz’s pal, Yvonne. Davy’s mum and dad, Jean and Rab, are celebrating a special anniversary, but an appearance from someone unexpected alters the course of events. In exploring the relationships of the characters, the music of The Proclaimers becomes the voice and energy of the show.
Having a mix of Pitlochry alumni and some new faces, this in-house production’s cast is immensely talented. Robbie Scott and Finlay Bain lead the cast as Ally and Davy. Both are fantastic performers being very boisterous in the song’s big number’s “I’m On My Way” and “Let’s Get Married” whilst showing heart in the show’s more emotional moments. Sinead Kenny and Fiona Wood deliver strong performances as Yvonne and Liz with Sinead shining in the number “Misty Blue” and Fiona delivering strong vocals leading “What Do You Do?”. The four lead performers have a great energy between them, and all are very believable in their relationships. Keith Macpherson also delivers a strong Rab with him having a perfect blend of comedic ability in the show’s lighter moments and can be emotionally engaging and make you feel for his character when things aren’t going well. Alyson Orr delivers a powerful rendition of “Sunshine on Leith” in the role of Jean. Five actors play multiple roles serving as the ensemble and are all very talented.
This production is an updated version of the original 2007 version with many tweaks to the score to make the music come alive. Actors in this production often play instruments throughout the scenes giving the show a more folk-rock feel and this allows the instruments to come alive. The set design by Adrian Rees is beautifully reflective of the city skyline of Edinburgh and is very adaptable to each scene and musical number.
With an uplifting story, great cast, and incredible songwriting, Sunshine on Leith remains one of Scotland’s favourite musicals. If you can make it to Pitlochry this festive season, you will have a brilliant night out.
This production has been rated ☆☆☆☆
Sunshine on Leith runs at Pitlochry Festival Theatre until the 23rd of December. Book tickets here: https://pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com/whats-on/sunshine-on-leith-2023/