Review – Sunshine on Leith


This review first appeared in BMA Magazine.

Get your tea and biscuits ready and prepare for the pleasantries of Sunshine on Leith, a jukebox urban musical based on the music of The Proclaimers. Yes, those Scottish guys that sing that ‘500 Miles’ song you last belted out at karaoke.

The songs are wrangled through a plot that features two soldiers (George MacKay and Kevin Guthrie) returning home to their families in Edinburgh, Scotland, after a tour in Afghanistan. There is a romance, family drama and a handy Proclaimers song for each occasion.

Director Dexter Fletcher (Spike from Press Gang) offers a vibrant postcard of Edinburgh that has the camera flying over the city begging for you to visit. One plane ticket please. The toe tapping is mainly kept indoors but Dexter gives each musical number a vibrant energy that’s infectious. The downside is the music. Sure, if you’re a big Proclaimers fan every ditty will be a winner, but it’s all really vanilla. Most of the film is a big build up to the use of ‘500 Miles’, but the eventual song and dance number is worth the wait.

The cast is what elevates the material because they’re all so damn optimistic. MacKay and Guthrie are magnetic leads. Peter Mullan, Jane Horrocks (Bubble from Absolutely Fabulous), Freya Mayvor and Antonia Thomas create a great mix of different voices in support.

Sunshine on Leith is pleasant. It will provoke a smile. Take your grandma.


Cameron Williams
The Popcorn Junkie