2013 - Dir: Dexter Fletcher - 1 hour 35 minutes
Shown in FeckenOdeon 2 on 14th August, 2015
“If aliens landed in the centre of Edinburgh tomorrow and asked us to tell them all we know of Scottish arts and culture, how on earth would we explain the Proclaimers? Are Craig and Charlie Reid, the Leith-born twins with matching glasses and accents thicker than yesterday’s porridge, an accomplished folk-rock duo of three decades standing, or a novelty pop act? I’m never entirely sure: any karaoke veteran will appreciate the mesmeric hold “I’m Gonna Be” (500 Miles) can have over a beery mob, and yet the duo’s lyrics ring with a blunt poetry that’s seldom acknowledged, let alone savoured.
Well, there is plenty of opportunity to savour it in Sunshine on Leith! This musical film directed by Dexter Fletcher is built around 13 Proclaimers’ songs that leaves you with cask-strength, capillary-reddening tingles of happiness that run to the very tip of your nose.” Robbie Colin, Daily Telegraph.
….and so say a whole host of reviews of this cheery adaptation of the stage musical of the same name. “Dundee Rep” was the theatre that commissioned, nurtured, and first staged this show, back in 2007, in a memorably inventive and joyous production by the then artistic director James Brining, now in charge of West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. Mr Brining worked with writer Stephen Greenhorn to develop the show, and forged the script and the music into a fast-moving, beautifully staged production…. And it was the Dundee Rep that then took the risk – and the eventual financial loss – involved in scaling up the show for a UK main stage tour, which played to packed houses at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh at Christmas 2008, but did less well south of the Border. It’s interesting that, now that the seal of “international” financial interest has been stamped on the big screen transfer, southern English critics and audiences have suddenly become enthused. No matter - this is a movie forged in the north and celebrating life regardless of what the rest of he UK is worrying about.
It has been said that this is the ultimate antidote to British miserabilism and that it does the same job for The Proclaimers as Mamma Mia did for Abba. Part of its appeal lies in that it’s much better sung than Mamma Mia was on film, and combines a few actors we didn’t know could sing with young stars who have enough talent to storm the West End. It has the same quality that made something remarkable out of Alan Parker’s The Commitments: the power to mix working-class grit with a classless love of pop music, and an optimism about the way we’re going. Sunshine On Leith is not intended to be a political film, but it captures something all too rarely recognised about UK culture, which is far too obsessed with London and patronisingly depicts the rest of the country as dour and in decline.