Sunny Afternoon is a musical by Joe Penhall, telling the story of the British rock ‘n’ roll band, The Kinks. The show began its life at the Hampstead Theatre in 2014 before transferring to the Harold Pinter Theatre. It follows the London band’s journey, which was troubled by management difficulties, opposition due to their on-stage behaviour, internal rivalries within the band, personal struggles, as well as being the only band at the time to be banned from the USA. The story begins in 1963 with the formation of the band, was made up of Ray Davies, the lead singer and songwriter, Dave Davies, the lead guitarist, Pete Qualife, the bass guitarist and Mick Avory, the drummer. The Kinks quickly found success and took the world by storm, selling millions of records and with Ray Davies’ songwriting ability being regarded as genius.
Ray Davies was played by Danny Horn (The Dead Dogs, The Revenger’s Tragedy). Horn is magnificent in the role giving a first class performance. He conveys Ray’s internal struggles at the same time as giving amazing performances of the Kinks’ best-loved music. Ray Davies thought in song and so the music of The Kinks often reflected his emotions and thoughts at the time. Rasa, Davies’ wife, played by Megan Leigh Mason (The Elephant Man, Boeing Boeing, Godspell), sang backing vocals on numerous Kinks’ records. Mason has a beautiful voice and gives a tender performance of ‘I Go To Sleep’.
Dave Davies, Ray’s younger brother and lead guitarist for the band, was played by Oliver Hoare (Romeo and Juliet, School for Scandal, The Jungle Book). Hoare is magnetic and dangerous in the archetypical wild-child, rock-star role, with a penchant for women and alcohol and a disregard for authority, and he swaggers around the stage with confidence and style.
Mick Avory was played by Damien Walsh (Dreamcoats and Miniskirts, Dreamcoats and Petticoats, Rock and Roll Cinderella), who is a fantastic drummer. Mick and Dave have a fierce dislike of each other, which comes to a head with an on-stage fight at a performance in Cardiff in 1965 where Avory knocked Davies unconscious causing a wound needing several stitches.
Pete Quaife was played by superb guitarist, Tom Whitelock (Romeo and Juliet, A Clockwork Orange, Dracula). Quaife considers himself the outsider of the band and almost leaves the group.
Sunny Afternoon is a wonderful celebration of the music of The Kinks. There are many, many highlights in the show, including the first blasting of the iconic ‘You Really Got Me’ five-note riff which vibrates and rocks the entire auditorium and ‘Waterloo Sunset’ is also phenomenal. Another standout number is ‘Sunny Afternoon’ set around England’s 1966 World Cup triumph. The show comes to a sensational end with a wonderful mix of ‘Lola’ and ‘You Really Got Me’.
It is an outstanding show, with great music and a stunning cast, and is one of the most uplifting and fun musicals currently in the West End. Sunny Afternoon is currently showing at the Harold Pinter Theatre and will be touring the UK from August 2016.
For more information on your visit to the Harold Pinter Theatre, visit our partner’s, West End Theatre Guide London, website – http://www.westendtheatreguide.london/west-end-theatres/harold-pinter-theatre/