Star Rating:

Sunshine on Leith

Actors: George Mckay, Freya Mavor., Jane Horrocks, Peter Mullan

Release Date: Monday 30th November -0001

Genre(s): Music

Running time: 100 minutes

I get why Jukebox Musicals are popular but a story based around the lyrics of The Proclaimers' music is pushing it. Abba could do it, The Beatles could do it and Queen could do it; I'm no great fan of the Scottish duo but having two recognisable tunes - that one, and the other one - limits what a Jukebox Musical is: sing-along fun.

Maybe the lack of internationally known songs dictates Sunshine On Leith's sometimes sombre tone. You know you're not watching Mamma Mia as the opening scene unfolds: we're in the back of an army truck in the Middle East where our nervous heroes - George McKay (a big month for the How I Live Now star) and Kevin Guthrie - are caught in an ambush. Making it back home to Edinburgh (also enjoying a big month as it features in Filth), Guthrie plans to reignite the passion he had with McKay’s sister, Freya Mavor, while McKay has his sights set on English nurse Antonia Thomas. A few numbers later the drama kicks in: Peter Mullan and Jane Horrocks' twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations are cut short when a secret infidelity comes to light and a spurned a marriage proposal is rejected. Then there is a funeral. And a heart attack.

It was always going to be ropey - stringing together a story based on lyrics there is shoehorning like be damned going on here. At one point Jason Flemyng (Snatch and Lock, Stock) sings 'Should Have Been Loved' to a woman who has been loved all her life. And when Mavor confesses she has dreams of moving to Florida, well, you know what's coming.

While the cast do a better job in the vocal department (even Peter Mullan has a raspy go) than Streep, Brosnan and Firth, as a Jukebox Musical Sunshine On Leith fails, as those unfamiliar with The Proclaimer's songs won't have that bouncy sing-along vibe it’s after. However, as a straight up musical it's fine.

Bottom line is if you like characters bursting into song at the drop of a hat, you'll like it; if you don't, you're dead right.

Here's a list of bands whose lyrics would make a fun Jukebox Musical:

The Happy Mondays

The Flaming Lips


The Smiths