A Chat with Blythe Jandoo

Sing it with us now…

Yes, from 500 Miles, On My Way, Hate My Love, or Sunshine on Leith cast member Blythe Jandoo’s favourite Then I Met You, the music of Leith via Auchtermuchty musicians The Proclaimers is as instilled in the culture of Scotland as any romanticised novel or industrial captain. Now re-staged from the brilliance of the Pitlochry Festival Theatre team and Capital Theatres, Sunshine on Leith floods Scotland with that warming presence we adore ever so, as the tale of two lads returning from active duty find Scotland, specifically Leith and Edinburgh, may not be the home they quite remember.

We were fortunate enough to catch Jandoo for a chat before the launch of the show this Friday, who perfectly describes the enduring appeal of the production, stating the show is ‘about home, belonging, community and the endurance of humankind through hardship and love. We can all relate to that, especially after the past couple years’.

A self-professed ‘hopeless romantic’, the role of Liz Henshaw couldn’t have possibly gone to anyone other than Jandoo, who takes a lynchpin role as returning soldier Ally’s girlfriend, as well as our other protagonist Davy’s sister. Not quite finished yet, Liz, daughter of Jean and Rab, is an NHS nurse looking to move out into the world and is right at the heart of the production and more than any other character, shares a strand of connection with every other. But being so close to so many means that tough decisions have an impact, decisions which Jandoo describes as ‘ultimately affecting those around her and I won’t spoil it for you but hearts are broken…’

But where would we be without the titular Sunshine? As dour and glum as aspects of the story can be, it is a Proclaimers musical, after all, there are heaps to look forward to in this Pitlochry & Capital co-production. With performance and music sitting at the forefront of their intentions to showcase ‘the incredible ensemble of actor-musicians – principals included!’, resident directors Elizabeth Newman and Ben Occhipinti’s Sunshine of Leith is set to be a stellar piece to re-open the Pitlochry auditorium, long-dormant whilst she receives some much-needed attention.

And that’s not all, as this production not only has the honour of celebrating Pitlochry’s re-opening for the summer season, Sunshine on Leith will also be the closing show for the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh before she also takes a much-needed rest. Jandoo, fully appreciative of the importance of both celebrations, is glad to be a part of not one, but two special events, looking forward to ‘blasting the dust off the Pitlochry stage, with this brilliant show will be totally overwhelming and just joyous’ as well as recognising the history maybe marked in as the Lady of Leven Street takes a rest as the King’s lowers the curtains until 2024.

Not finished with Pitlochry just yet, audiences can also catch Jandoo revive Jean MacDonald (now Passepartout) in Mark Powell’s outdoor production of Around The World in 80 Days, a show ‘guaranteed to make you smile and maybe even shed a tear – Powell’s adaption is brilliant’. Or they can catch her a bit later into the year in Martin McCormick’s brand-new production, The Maggie Wall, Jandoo’s first single-hander performance, one she’s exceptionally excited about.

From the rollerblades of Starlight Express to Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and as many keepy uppies in Bend it Like Beckham in Toronto to a heaping of the wonderful world of Disney both on and off stage, this is Jandoo’s first time taking to Sunshine on Leith. And having performed across the stages and film sets of the world, Jandoo is pleased to finally be taking up a role set in her hometown of Edinburgh, able to represent Scotland in a new light.

You can watch Blythe in Sunshine on Leith, which opens at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre from May 20th – October 1st (select dates). Tickets for which can be obtained here.

Sunshine on Leith will also be the closing show for the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh from June 7th – 18th, tickets for which can be obtained here.

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