REVIEW: Sunny Afternoon, Sunderland Empire, Until October 8
Sunny Afternoon was so good that I could have watched it All Day and All of the Night.
The musical tells the story of London rockers The Kinks and their rise to fame in the 1960s.
I love the band’s music, but in all honesty, I had no idea what their story was. But as I learned, The Kinks have quite a tumultuous history.
What began in the bedroom of brothers Dave Davies (Mark Newnham) and Ray Davies (Ryan O’Donnell) turned into eardrum-splitting, scream-inducing rock ‘n’ roll hysteria.
As soon as single You Really Got Me shot to the No.1 spot, the band was everywhere.
Right from the off, the show is loud and in your face, and I absolutely loved it.
We watch as Dave, Ray, Mick Avory (Andrew Gallo) and Pete Quaife (Garmon Rhys) become huge stars, attempt to break America, pull girls, swing from chandeliers, fall in love, and fight between themselves.
The infamous mid-gig fight in Cardiff was a brilliant moment in the show – it was raw and real. The audience sat a little perplexed, unsure of what was going on, much like I imagine the audience would have back then.
The four stars of the show bring the characters to life spectacularly, and they’re also great musicians. They capture the sound, look and attitude of the band perfectly.
The rest of the cast too are actor-musicians, who grab everything from trombones to tambourines to perform the famous music.
Things like ensemble members becoming screaming girls that stormed the stage at gigs, desperate to get close to the rock stars, were brilliant touches that gave the show that authentic feel.
The staging itself was brilliant. The extended walkway that went out into the stalls gave it that extra gig-like feel.
Lisa Wright made a big impression as Ray’s love interest-turned-wife Rasa. She played a number of different instruments and sang beautifully.
The show is almost like a two-for-one deal. On one hand, you’ve got the entire ensemble performing hits like Dedicated Follower of Fashion along with choreography, and on the other hand, you’ve got the four lads rocking the room with a live gig.
It’s bright, colourful and it absolutely rocked.
Fans of The Kinks will adore this tribute to one of the greatest acts to ever come out of Britain. All the hits are crammed into the show and each one is performed fantastically.
The show ended on a high as everyone got to their feet to dance and clap along to Lola.
The audience screamed and cheered for the lads as if they were the real deal.
Sunny Afternoon runs until Saturday, October 8. Click here to book tickets.