Friday, 30 May 2014
Sunshine on Leith
Two soldiers from a Scottish regiment return from a traumatic tour of duty in Afghanistan to their hometown Edinburgh to seek love, the comfort of family and some normality of life.
In this case normality includes regular bursts of song and dance with all and sundry who are in the vicinity. Find yourself in a pub; burst into song. Find yourself in a museum; burst into song. Find yourself wandering down the main street; burst into song. When they find themselves in a hospital I thought...please don't...please don't...but sure enough they burst into song.
This is no 21st Century cutting edge musical. I was reminded of the Cliff Richard musicals of the 1950/60s when everyone sang and danced their lives through a sugary plot with a sprinkle of unpleasantness for colour. Some songs from that era have survived as a nostalgic memory - 'Summer Holiday', for one - but I doubt any of the songs from 'Sunshine on Leith' will be hummed by the senior citizens of the 2050s. Sure the tunes are catchy but they also are instantly forgettable falling into two categories, slow ballads or bouncy ballads. The lyrics of most of the songs are juvenile rhymes. The final scene extravaganza provides the one nod to contemporary culture with an enjoyable flash dance sequence.
The images of Edinburgh are a delight and there is sufficient subtext for this tale to have been made into a passable drama but it is questionable that this is material for a musical. The cast struggle bravely but when that stalwart of dark drama Peter Mullan turned his Lee Marvin like gravelly voice to song I knew the battle was lost.