Finlay Bain plays Ally in Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s production of the much-loved musical Sunshine on Leith.
Originally staged 15 years ago at Dundee Rep in 2007 before being transformed in to the 2013 smash hit feature film adaptation starring Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullan, Sunshine on Leith sees the return of service members Davy and Ally from war overseas, to be confronted with civilian life filled with relationships, blind dates, and new responsibilities. As the pair embark on intertwining journeys in love, they begin to question what home really means to them as they rediscover their sense of identity.
Set to the classic songs of much-loved The Proclaimers, including I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Letter from America and of course the emotive “Sunshine on Leith”, this feel-good Scottish musical asks the question, would you walk 500 miles for love?
Sunshine on Leith will open at Pitlochry Festival Theatre from 17 November – 23 December.
You’re starring in Sunshine on Leith at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, what can you tell us about the show?
Without giving too much away and spoiling anything, the show is about two best friends arriving back to their hometown after a dangerous deployment abroad with the Army. As they are both settling back into civilian life in their own ways, the show explores the importance of friendship, family, love and community- in thoughtful, tender and very funny ways, and of course with the help of the brilliant music from the Proclaimers.
What is it about Sunshine on Leith, do you think, that makes it so popular with audiences?
I’d probably say the wonderful songs from The Proclaimers is what has made this musical so popular and has made people revisit it time after time. And then once they’re there, the brilliant writing from Stephen Greenhorn in tying through the heartfelt storyline. Wrapped up altogether it’s a show which is incredibly accessible and connects with any audience.
You’re playing Ally, tell us a little about the character and what you love about the role?
Ally is the best pal of Davy and is in a relationship with Davy’s sister Liz. He’s decided to finish up with the Army, (with Davy) and has his sights set on settling down, starting a family and living happily ever after. I love the character as he’s a dreamer and is a cheeky but likeable guy who just wants to have a place in a community, where he feels wanted and needed.
And what do you think you’ll find most challenging?
Probably playing the guitar while singing. I’m not a fan of getting things wrong, and the guitar will let you know pretty quickly if you’re playing it wrong, so hopefully the extra time spent in a spare room throughout the rehearsal process will sort this out, and hopefully the occasional sound of me swearing at myself when hitting wrong notes doesn’t travel too far to the rest of the company!
It famously features the music of The Proclaimers, what are you looking forward to about performing these classic songs every night?
It’s great to know that these songs all work. If this was a new musical, with new songs etc. there may be the worry of ‘Will they like this?’ but with the songs from the Proclaimers, you know you have great songs which already have a phenomenal fan base so I’ll be looking forward to hopefully doing them justice!
What do you enjoy most about working at Pitlochry Festival Theatre?
Although Pitlochry as a place is absolutely stunning, for me the most enjoyable aspect of working at Pitlochry Festival Theatre is working with the team there. Elizabeth Newman the artistic director and director of the show has a great vision and provides a really supportive and nourishing environment for actors to grow and explore in. While the patience and accuracy of the musical director Richard Reeday prepares us well, so we feel solid and secure with all the great, but complex musical arrangements. The whole technical team and cast are also a good natured and hardworking bunch and great fun to work with.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Sunshine on Leith?
Book now to avoid disappointment!