Captivate Theatre “Sunshine on Leith” – 13 August 2016, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The film adaption of the musical Sunshine on Leith is one of my favourite ever films, leading me to see The Proclaimers live in concert last year (whose songs the musical is based on) and making it a necessity for me to see the stage production at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival, performed by the extremely talented Captivate Theatre.
The musical is a story of love, friendship and family, centreing on Jean and Rab (played by Hazel Beattie and Sandy Queenan), their son Davy and his best friend from the army Ally (played by Liam Forrester and Connor Burnett) and their daughter Liz and her nursing friend Yvonne (played by Katie Lynch and Charlie Dawes), that is not afraid to tackle the issues we are all affected by including adultery, health problems and commitment.
The musical does all this whilst being packed with the songs of the Scottish twins, which slot perfectly into the plot and range from the songs we are know including the title track, and “I’m on my way“, “Letter from America” and of course “I’m gonna be (500 miles)” to the less well known but just as beautiful, entertaining and moving “Over and done with“, “Make my heart fly” (my mobile ringtone), “Let’s get married” and “Then I met you” plus many more.
Captivate Theatre’s performance of the musical was on many levels even better than the film for me (the people exiting the big top style theatre in front of me were saying the same) with superb voices from all of the cast including the ensemble (special mention is needed for Hazel Beattie’s tearjerker performance of the title track) and extra and well worth it songs including “I wanna spend my life with you” that didn’t make it into the film.
The cast delivered a well acted performance that was emotional, gritty, funny and very Scottish from the opening scene when the soldiers arrived on stage to the rousing finale, not forgetting some perfectly placed flashbacks. In a show that after seeing their performance makes “Sunshine on Leith” now my favourite musical both on stage and screen, I also need to give praise to the superb choreography, directing and musical arrangement.
Starting life as an after school class for children in and around west Edinburgh in 2011, Captivate Theatre has grown to become a company of over 100 actors, musicians and technicians who perform work in their own distinctive style. They aim to offer audiences an experience that is thrilling, energetic and passionately executed with shows that are clear, fluid and energetic combined with minimal staging, a powerful visual style and superb musicianship, which makes for vivid and compelling theatre.
You can see Sunshine on Leith everyday from now until Monday 29 August, apart from Monday 15 and Monday 22, at the Famous Spiegelent. Tickets are £15 for the two hour show and available from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival box office in person, on 0131 226 0000 or at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/sunshine-on-leith.
However Captivate Theatre aren’t just performing one show at this year’s Fringe, so if you are a fan of musicals also check out their performances of Bugsy Malone, Oliver!, Les Miserables and Shakin’ Shakespeare.