Sunshine On Leith

Date 21st October 2016
Society Allegro
Venue ChurchHill Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Harry Dozier
Musical Director James McCutcheon
Choreographer Donna Ewing

Report

Author: Dorothy Johnstone

Sunshine on Leith tells the story of 2 young soldiers Davy and Ally who return to Leith form Afghanistan and the difficulties they meet in readjusting to civilian life. With music by the Proclaimers, this certainly is a show which attracts an audience and it was wonderful to see the HOUSE FULL sign outside the theatre.
The opening scene with a group of young squaddies carrying guns in the desert and witnessing one of their own being killed made an immediate impact. These six lads had a very good blend of voices in the number ‘Sky Takes The Soul’.
Davy (Donald Randall) and Ally (Fraser Jamieson) lightened the mood with ‘I’m On My Way’ which got the feet tapping in the audience. Fraser’s performance was solid and sincere both vocally and in his dialogue demonstrating a real understanding of the character. He was well matched with Fiona Dawson playing his girlfriend Liz who is torn between her feelings for her family and Ally and her dream of seeing more of the world. ‘What Do You Do’ conveyed her conflict and showed off her strong melodic voice.
The other love tangle between Davy and his nurse girlfriend Yvonne (Michelle Baskeyfield) was well portrayed. These four principals worked very well and sang convincingly in ‘Make My Heart Fly’
The story is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Phil Dobson (Rab) differentiated between the laid back Rab at the beginning, the party lover and the anguished Rab when his past secret love affair is brought to light. Lesley Ward (Jean) was at ease portraying the loving mum and wife who wrestles with her emotions when she finds out about Rab’s infidelity and as she comes to terms with her daughter’s desire to go to America. ‘Sunshine on Leith’ was sung with great feeling as was ‘Letter From America’ involving the main characters. The smaller roles of young Rab and Margaret were well portrayed by Matt McDonagh and Rachel Aedy.
Although the dialogue at times lacked pace, this could not be said of the chorus who were having a blast and threw everything at the big musical numbers. Some precise choreography was delivered with energy, enthusiasm and vitality. ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’ raised the roof!
Good use was made of the split levels set which allowed for minimal interruption during the many scene changes. Sometimes activity on the lower level distracted from poignant scenes on the upper level.
This was a very well costumed production which was supported by a very good orchestra who only occasionally got a bit carried away making difficult to hear some words on stage!
When a capacity audience cheers and gives a standing ovation it says it all. What more could be asked for? This must be a sure sign that this production has been a winner. Well done Allegro.