Sunny Afternoon is the new musical based around the iconic 60s band the Kinks. It opens this month at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Written by the band’s front man Ray Davies this musical has been long awaited.
There was a false start a few years ago when Davies penned the rather wonderful, semi-autobiographical, Come Dancing. That was staged at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and I loved it so much I went twice! The show toured but without Davies fronting it as the narrator it just couldn’t earn its place in the West End.
Sunny Afternoon is quite a different proposition. Unlike the previous show this features the Kinks own music and tells the story of their rise from the early 1960s to the height of their fame in 1968. It follows as brothers Dave and Ray Davies come together to write their very first songs, find a name and a sound of their own. It is an interesting and emotional story as the brothers sometimes difficult and tempestuous relationship is tested through the highs and lows of a 1960s pop career.
There are set pieces too where Kinks performances, like their famous Top of the Pops debut, are re-created. Few bands were ever as vibrant and electrifying live as the Kinks and the show’s young cast do a great job re-inventing that energy.
The list of hits in the show goes on and on and includes: Waterloo Sunset, You Really Got Me, Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, This Time Tomorrow, Dead End Street, All Day and All of the Night, Days, Lola and of course, the iconic Sunny Afternoon. These are some of the best pop songs ever written and lend themselves really well to the musical format.
On a personal note:
I have to admit a certain amount of bias here. I love the Kinks! Their early music is full of power, drive and energy. I last saw them live in 1984. I was heavily pregnant at the time and I had expected them to play their more recent stuff, which I was very fond of, gentle, thoughtful songs like Muswell Hill Billy Boy and Everybody’s in Show Biz. The Kinks however, unexpectedly, decided to make that the night they re-created their earliest hits and rocked the Nottingham Playhouse to its core. What a night! I gave birth less than a week later and I’ve always suspected my daughter’s love of pretty basic rock riffs was formed that night! B-)
Check our Readers Site for Sunny Afternoon Theatre Breaks