You would have to walk 500 miles and then walk 500 more to find a better amateur production of the sellout musical ‘Sunshine on Leith’.
Carnoustie Musical Society’s annual show had their virtually sold-out opening night audience laughing out loud, surreptitiously wiping away a tear and singing along with gusto.
One of their most popular shows, we can understand why, based as it is on the fantastic musical but producer Kevin Smith has truly made it his own.
The cast clearly have a ball on stage and the chemistry between the main characters is plain to see, and the emotionally charged goodbye scene between Ally and Davy is electric.
Principal roles were chosen perfectly. Ex-squaddies Davy (Gary Cavanagh) and Ally (Grant Roach) come home after a combat tour in the Middle East and attempt to settle down, but what follows is completely unexpected for them.
Gary and Grant are totally believable and relatable as the pair struggling to fit in, and their fine voices shine in some cracking numbers, particularly ‘Let’s Get Married’ and ‘Sky Takes The Soul’ along with the rest of their singing squad (Billy Hoon, Ali Laing, Chris Jukes and Mike Burns).
Much more than just love interests for the lads, Yvonne (Claire Smith) and Liz (Elaine Scougal), bring a humanity and story-telling to their roles that can often be missing in musicals. ‘Make My Heart Fly’ and ‘What Do You Do’ particular favourites.
Lesley Ritchie and Rodger Brunton play Davy’s parents Jean and Rab who after 30 years together are changing. Their portrayal of a relationship on the precipice is genuinely touching. Lesley is a fantastic vocalist, and she, pardon the pun, shines on the titular number ‘Sunshine On Leith’. Rodger combines his natural comedy with a gentle touch bets heard in ‘Life WIth You’.
There were many smaller roles, and to a man (or woman) the company performed them with grace, professionalism and fine vocals.
Kerry Mitchell was in beguiling voice as Margaret, the woman who leads a dashing Young Rab (Ali Laing) astray all those years ago and who comes back to haunt him 30 years on.
‘Should Have Been Loved’ gave Pam Roach a well-deserved chance to shine as Hazel, a colleague of Jean.
Mike Burns raises a pint and a smile as mine host of the Cannie Geordie leading the company in ‘Over And Done With’.
Liz Pardoe delights as the posh trainer trying to teach Leith’s ne’er-do-wells how to work in a call centre, and her charges (Jane Mcnamara, Chris Jukes and Pam Wallace) are hilarious in their rendition of ‘Throw The R Away’.
Special mention must also go to other performers including Jane Fenton, Kathy mcCallum, Gemma Cox, Joanna Fitzgerald, Brian Boyd, Dave Soutar and Aimee Stanton. Bringing life to the chorus we had Esme Anderson, Janette Gray, Sarah Laing, Joan Mitchell, Teagan Mitchell, Elaine Ramsay, Elaine Scott and Yvonne Swankie.
The video screen was an inspired decision and it is used innovatively to bring Leith to Carnoustie.
Musical Director Lynn Smith had a wealth of talent and good material to work with and it shows and choreographer Lynsey Ellen Faulkner as always brought style and purpose to the company’s movement.
And sorrow, sorrow, it is only a limited run and tickets are scarce for this fantastic show, but you should definitely chance your arm and try - The Fobel Shop, the box office on 03336663366 or www.carnoustiemusical.co.uk
It’s over and done with, it’s over and done with, but looking back the production team and cast should be more than proud of this wonderful sellout show.