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Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter theatre

First Published 29 October 2014, Last Updated 6 June 2018

What’s it all about?

The mythical meteorological event so rare at this time of year…

Of course it’s not! It’s about hit Brit band The Kinks and follows them through their humble beginnings and rise to fame to their strained relationships and disputes. It goes without saying that it features a host of their songs – a whopping 30 in fact – including the one the show is named after.

Who’s in it?

John Dagleish, who may be best known for pastoral drama Lark Rise To Candleford or the summer camp-set Beaver Falls, takes on the lead role of Kinks frontman Ray Davies. He gives the singer/songwriter, who also created the original story for the production, the air of a tormented genius a touch apart from the rest of the world that helps create an almost legendary aura for the star.

So much of Dagleish’s introspective portrayal comes via his soul-baring eyes, which is in stark contrast to George Maguire’s performance as younger brother Dave, who has enough unbridled, overflowing energy to fuel the entire West End should it suffer any power cuts this winter.

Together the pair create a brilliant picture of brotherly love, jealousy, envy and care.

What should I look out for?

Adam Cooper’s choreography that both perfectly evokes the 60s and finds a wealth of wit that just adds to the show’s contagious sense of fun.

The percussion-tastic drum solo that gives Adam Sopp, as an oft angry Mick Avory, his chance to shine.

Dagleish and Maguire beautifully expressing all of the Davies’ brotherly angst and emotion in the duet A Long Way From Home, and a glorious a capella version of the nostalgic Days.

What will I be humming?

If you know The Kinks, you already know which tunes you’ll be humming. In fact, you’ll probably be humming them before you go into the theatre. If you don’t, expect the heavy guitar riffs of You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night to stick with you, along with melodious Waterloo Sunset and the singalong chorus of Lola.

In a nutshell?

Big riffs, big performances and some of the finest songs written this side of the Atlantic. It’ll really get you going.

Who was in the opening night audience?

We spotted Jessica Raine sporting a stylish pixie cut, presumably in to support her Call The Midwife co-star Ben Caplan, and West End royalty turned EastEnders star Maria Friedman enjoying the show from one of the cabaret tables.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@MarcAlmond @KinksMusical came out with a BIG smile on my face, great story, great cast, and the FABULOUS songs. Still kept it Rock N Roll. I adore Ray.

@StephensSimon I completely loved Sunny Afternoon tonight. The music is astonishing, the band brilliant, the story beautifully told. Joe Penhall is magic.

Will I like it?

Music that means something, that evokes a time, a feeling, an atmosphere; that fits seamlessly with the story without the need to use a metaphorical musical shoehorn. Performances that stir the soul, that feel real, that, thanks to Edward Hall’s direction which keeps the production moving at a brisk pace, dive off the stage and out into the auditorium. A script full of wit and depth, heart and emotion that boasts a plethora of quotable lines – “Do you want to hold on to your integrity or do you want to be a star” the boys are asked in what could have been a precursor to every TV talent show of the last decade – to keep you chuckling. You’re going to la-la-la-la-love it.

Sunny Afternoon is booking at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 23 May 2015. You can book tickets from us here.


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