Sunshine on Leith – Multistory

Directed by Sally Lyall

Music & Lyrics by The Proclaimers

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Far from Leith, atop the makeshift MultiStory outdoor Fringe venue underneath the Castle, the sun conceals itself behind a typically grey Edinburgh skyline. But if there’s one theatrical group that can coax the sunshine out, it’s Edinburgh’s grassroots Captivate Theatre.

The company return to the Fringe with a production of Sunshine on Leith, Stephen Greenhorn’s moving musical based on the songs of The Proclaimers, following friends Ally and Davy as they reconnect with their families, loved ones and surroundings after returning from Afghanistan. Attempting to resettle in a city that has moved on in their absence, the boys look to the future with their respective partners, as does Davy’s father Rab who encounters an unknown secret from his past.

For Captivate, the crux of Sunshine on Leith is its comedy. The company understand the excessive melodrama of the production and incorporate it into their delivery. Hazel Beattie and Frankie O’Conner have an exceptional grasp of the delicate balance between straight dramatic performance and the exaggeration typical of musicals, and share the top billing for vocal performance. However, the acoustics of the open-air venue let Captivate down on occasion, as vocals scatter across the crowds and pressure weighs heavily on a single vocalist to overcome wind or weather. 

As reunions take place and lovers go their separate ways, Sunshine on Leith presents a more balanced ending than a mere happily ever after. 

Review published for The Skinny

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