Review: Sunshine on Leith at the King’s Theatre

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It’s been 11 Years since the first production hit the stage and Sunshine on Leith continues to delight audiences throughout its UK tour – but never more than when the sun is actually shining on Scottish shores! A lively, musical production, the story follows the tales of Ally and Davy – two typical young lads from Leith who return to Edinburgh after a tour of Afghanistan and attempt to fit back into civilian life.

Ally continues to pursue his romance with Liz, Davy’s sister, and Davy starts a new romance with Yvonne who just happens to be one of Liz’s best friends. Between both of these couples and Davy’s mum and dad, the drama unfolds around the rollercoaster of emotions that surrounds each couple as they cover themes of marriage, commitment, parenthood, betrayal, love and heartbreak. This musical really is a journey of self-discovery set within the everyday hustle and bustle of Scottish city living.

Director James Brining talks about why the appeal of the Proclaimers fits in so well to a musical narrative. “One of the really interesting things about The Proclaimers as musicians and song writers is the breadth of their influences. They’re political – fiercely supportive of Scottish independence; and they write about relationships with brutal honesty. Their songs reflect life in all its messiness and complexity. There are as many songs about being cheated on – or cheating – as there are about falling in love.”

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Featuring 18 hits from the famous duo, the writing by Greenhorn expertly embraces their famous songs weaved within themes of love, heartbreak, patriotism, family ties and all things inherently Scottish right down to the pints of Tennents and the local social clubs.

It’s a strong cast – with some soap fans recognising Paul-James Corrigan as the long running character of “Stevie” in River City and he is just as likeable on the stage as he is on the telly! The rest of the cast provide dynamic performances with great comic timing and energetic routines.

The greatest strength of this musical is the likeable and extremely relatable characters. Through tears of sadness and tears of laughter, you get to know these characters as friends – they are your next door neighbours, the guy in the local pub, your work mates and friends.

The music is intertwined in the dialogue through a seven piece band who effortlessly blend into the scenes. There are some political nuances throughout – when Liz sings “What do you do when democracy fails you” along with some digs at the cutbacks in the NHS and privatisation. No surprise as The Proclaimers were always known for their pro-independence stance.

The audience are swept along with the familiar beats of some of the most popular Proclaimers songs with some great comedy moments – “Lets Get Married” where the boys in the pub try to give some great advice on a romantic proposal during a football match is one of the highlights of the show. The audience struggle to hold back singing along during “Life with You” and “Over and Done with”. Then the first few beats of the most iconic song “500 miles” had the audience leaping to their feet and singing along.

Throughly entertaining and enjoyable, Sunshine on Leith will continue to be a family favourite and it is a joy to see its experiencing great success across the UK – not just in bonnie Scotland.