Reviewed by J Wright
Sheffield Teacher’s Operatic Society (STOS) have taken the Lyceum this week to present their latest show, Sunshine on Leith. The show, which features lots of well known and a few lesser known songs by The Proclaimers, has been long delayed due to the hazards of the last couple of years and STOS are glad to finally bring the show to the stage. This isn’t the first time they’ve experienced delays in their long history, established in 1901 they’ve produced over 100 shows, stopping for two world wars and a pandemic. What a relief it must be to continue their legacy.
Stephen Greenhorn wrote Sunshine On Leith and his writing is well known in a couple of iconic Doctor Who episodes and lots of other TV hits. As a Scot himself he knows how to poke fun at his fellow countrymen and some of the England and Scotland differences, but without offence. There are some true laugh-out-loud moments in the script for all to enjoy.
The story introduces us to Davy and Ally, two young soldiers returning from duty in Afghanistan and wondering what life will bring next for each of them and their friendship. We see their lives unfold via the young love in their relationships and a more mature example in Davy’s parents who are about to celebrate a milestone anniversary.
There are discoveries for all to make, changes in the present and secrets from the past which threaten to overturn everything.
The sounds of The Proclaimers echo throughout but in ways and with voices which take the lyrics and melodies to create a fitting soundtrack. There’s a couple of new arrangements for songs you might find familiar and with female voices at times which really creates some diversity in sound. And you can be sure you’ll hear Letter From America, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) and of course Sunshine On Leith.
STOS, as an amateur dramatic company shine most as an ensemble where the energy really gets going and the stage is full and busy. Those, along with the orchestra are the moments which have the audience foot tapping and in some cases singing along.
The cast have done a great job in mastering some sturdy Scottish accents to play the roles with some conviction. Given that this is a Sheffield based organisation that’s a fair task, however, it was noticeable that the accents came through in the singing too. Just like The Proclaimers and many other Scottish vocalists and that added authenticity to the production overall.
There are still some seats left for Sunshine On Leith if you’d like to get some winter sunshine right here in Sheffield. There’s even a Saturday matinee which might better suit younger audience members as the show runs at over 2 hours.
Tickets are available here https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/sunshine-on-leith/dates and at the box office 0114 249 6000.
Don’t forget to pick up your discount parking ticket for QPark, or The Cheese Grater as we know it locally.
STOS will return in November 2023 with Barnum, also at The Lyceum Theatre.