Last week I made the trip down the road from the Leeds Grand Theatre where I work to the West Yorkshire Playhouse to catch their performance of the musical Sunshine on Leith. This show is a jukebox musical using the songs of The Proclaimers to great effect.
Such a Scottish band means that the drama inevitably unfolds in Scotland itself, or more specifically Leith in Edinburgh. Two squaddies return home to build their civilian lives and rediscover the place and people they left when they went off to the army. It is an emotional rollercoaster taking you from moments of absolute joy to deepest upset multiple times throughout the piece which keeps the storyline moving and stops the long show dragging at all.
The set is brilliant with all the everyday gritty minutiae of everyday life displayed. The large props that open to reveal various cupboards or staffroom lockers are very clever and the large bar set is great. Although not a massive feature there are also some nice little moments with the lighting, I particularly enjoyed the use of it to represent a lift- simple, yet effective.
The cast are all excellent and for once it worked having some of them playing the instruments on the stage where the rest of the band were also situated. So often I find this incredibly distracting to the point where it takes away some of the enjoyment but here it ended up being a good decision. The standouts were Paul-James Corrigan as Ally who just had a great stage presence, Hilary Maclean as Jean whose beautifully nuanced acting delivered all the feels and Jocaster Almgill as Yvonne who has an amazing, powerful singing voice.
There were moments in the plot that seemed a little far-fetched as though they were having to think of ways to intertwine the songs into the narrative as is a problem with many jukebox musicals however the feel good factor and general performance as a whole was enjoyable enough that honestly I just didn’t care about that. If you like the film or the music of The Proclaimers I would say this is definitely worth you checking out but even if you’re not familiar on either this is a great night out and well worth making time to see.
The tour is fairly limited however for further information on venues, dates and tickets click here.
Are you a fan of jukebox musicals? Did you like the film Sunshine on Leith?