A London screening of Dexter Fletcher’s Sunshine on Leith served up some very special guests.
There are premieres, there are special screenings and then – just once in a very cool while – there are truly ‘special’ screenings.
For Dexter Fletcher’s resolutely feel-good and life-affirming musical Sunshine On Leith the promotional bandwagon began at TIFF when it was a late addition to the programme, but was met with warm applause and a good deal of critical appreciation.
A few days ago the International Premiere was held in Edinburgh, attended by cast and crew, along with The Proclaimers – identical twins Charlie and Craig Reid – whose vibrant and soulful music was the inspiration for the stage musical on which the film is based.
So when it came to last night’s London ‘special’ screening at BAFTA the emphasis had to be a little different. Enter stage left celebrity chef and all-round top bloke Jamie Oliver who not only introduced the film but also provided food to keep the assembled and enthusiastic audience more than happy.
And not only did Oliver introduce a dancing Dexter Fletcher to an lively audience already primed for enjoyment by a glass of bubbly or two and some rather nice canapés, but he also promised “serious food” after the screening.
On hand with Fletcher was cast members Jane Horrocks, Freya Mavor, Antonia Thomas and George MacKay along with Stephen Greenhorn who adapted from his stage musical, while Charlie and Craig Reed watched on from an audience that included Alan Parker (who gave Fletcher a role in the musical Bugsy Malone almost 40 years ago), David Tennant, Mark Strong, Richard Curtis and other UK industry folk.
As a second time viewer (I saw it in Toronto) it was a pleasure to see it played as well as it did a few weeks ago, with much toe-tapping along; the odd tear shed and cheers and enthusiasm for the final feel-good sequence.
Plus the BAFTA audience was far quicker to spot – and applaud – the cameos from Charlie and Craig Reed in an early scene and appreciate Dexter Fletcher’s engaging, silently amusing, brief stint as a drunk stumbling out of an Edinburgh pub.
Post film one felt obliged to sample Jamie’s “serious food”….let’s just say he delivered on his promise.
Mark Adams is chief film critic for Screen International