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By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2014 Revised 2nd January 2015
REVIEW: "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" by Jayne Waterford

Dexter Fletcher's "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" (2013) is very Scottish. It is cheerful, dour, inconsiderate, wild and lurvy durvy.

There are some dry parts after the manner of "PITCH PERFECT" which is dry in parts. It's like there's a choreographer off stage right saying, "Now let's remember we're making a professional musical here people. I want to see pleasant smiles and TIMING!" The pub scene where the boys are dancing with the publican is one such scene. The final scene is another but everything is else is very brave and true.

George Richmond's photography is very nice. Everything is bright and clear and enjoyable.

Some of the lyrics are in Scottish Gaelic, which is a mystery to me. The meaning was obviously gentle and lovely. I need not know more. I was just pleasantly surprised the cast sang in Scottish accents. Paul Englishby adapts libretto to plot which works well freshening your ear for the song.

Their lives are complex. My favourite part is Jean, played by the fabulous Jane Horrocks, known well for Bubbles. Well she's Mrs. Bubbles now and we get to

bask in her warmth. She's like a radiator.

The production ebbs and flows from happy homecoming to anniversary celebration to break ups all round and then health scares, travel, making up, commitment and people blowing the way of the wistful wind, most likely to come together again. Romance has always paired wonderfully with war. "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" opens with death and how do you depict someone dying in a Scottish musical? You set it to a cheerful song:

"It could be tomorrow, or it could be today,
When the sky takes the soul and
the earth takes the clay."


The poetry in many lyrics was also refreshing in a non-movie way, "I tend to view this nation through the condensation on a dirty glass." – ‘MISTY BLUE’

Jason Flemyng was delightful in the role of single man with a crush on Jean. (It's one p Jason. a-b-r-u-p-t)

This was a very pleasant 100 miles er minutes. Dexter Fletcher's "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" (2013) is refreshing. 9/10

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 2014.

Dexter Fletcher's
Director Londoner Dexter Fletcher
Producers Andrew MacDonald, Allon Reich, Arabella Page Croft and Kieran Parker
Stars Jane Horrocks, Peter Mullan, George Mackay, Antonia Thomas, Kevin Guthrie and Freya Mayor
Release Date 22nd May 2014
Category Musical
Running Time 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
Rating PG
Origin Scotland
Coda No
Distributor Hopscotch Films
Official Blurb

"While I’m worth my room on this Earth,
I will be with you,
While the Chief puts sunshine on Leith,
I’ll thank him for his work,
And your birth and my birth


Home is where the heart is for best pals Davy (George Mackay) and Ally (Kevin Guthrie). Returning from duty in Afghanistan to their lifelong residence in Leith, just outside Edinburgh, the lads kindle romances old and new: Ally with Davy’s sister Liz (Freya Mavor), and Davy with Yvonne (Antonia Thomas), his little sis’s best friend from work. Meanwhile, their parents Rab (Peter Mullan) and Jean (Jane Horrocks) are busy planning their 25th wedding anniversary. Everything’s going swimmingly, until a revelation from Rab’s past threatens to tear the family and all three couples apart. Dexter Fletcher directs Sunshine on Leith; a jubilant, heartfelt musical about the power of home, the hearth, family and love, adapted from the acclaimed stage musical by Stephen Greenhorn and featuring the euphoric music of The Proclaimers.

Sunshine on Leith was produced by Andrew

Macdonald and Allon Reich for DNA Films, and Arabella Page Croft and Kieran Parker for Black Camel Pictures. Dexter Fletcher directs from a script by Stephen Greenhorn. The Director of Photography is George Richmond. The Musical Director is Paul Englishby. The film stars Peter Mullan, Jane Horrocks, George Mackay, Freya Mavor, Kevin Guthrie, Antonia Thomas and Jason Flemyng."
- Hopscotch Films PR

"To sing or not to sing? That was the question. A talking point before and during the making of Sunshine on Leith was the radical approach adopted by director Tom Hooper for his adaptation of Les Miserables, in which that film’s actors sang live during each take. Macdonald admits he was tempted to try something similar. But when he learned that Mamma Mia!, another musical populated by actors rather than professional singers, used pre-recorded vocals and yet still maintained an unpolished, rough-round-the-edges feel that Macdonald wanted for Sunshine On Leith, he settled on that option."

Director Dexter Fletcher on the set of "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" (2013). An Entertainment One film release. In cinemas May 22, 2014.
Photograph Neil Davidson
Davy (George MacKay) & Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) get together and want to make it work in Dexter Fletcher's "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" (2013).
Photograph Neil Davidson
Jean (Jane Horrocks) and Rab (Peter Mullan) at their 25th Anniversary in Dexter Fletcher's "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" (2013).
Ally (Kevin Guthrie) lines up for a kiss from girlfriend & Liz (Freya Mavor) in Dexter Fletcher's "SUNSHINE ON LEITH" (2013).
At the centre of her support network
Jean (Jane Horrocks).
Photograph by Harry (Jason Flemyng).