The Bristol Hippodrome
Tuesday 7th March – Saturday 11th March 2017
Featuring some of The Kinks’ best-loved songs, including You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset and Lola, Sunny Afternoon tells the story of the early life of Ray Davies and the rise to stardom of The Kinks who exploded onto the 60s music scene with a raw energetic new sound that rocked a nation.
SUNNY AFTERNOON SYNOPSIS
Set against the back-drop of a Britain caught mid-swing between the conservative 50s and riotous 60s, Sunny Afternoon explores the euphoric highs and agonising lows of one of Britain’s most iconic bands, and the unruly new musical style that influenced generations.
SUNNY AFTERNOON REVIEW
Right from the start, believable characters, accomplished musicians and talented dancers draw the audience into this show. The action is pretty much non-stop and beautifully choreographed, swiftly changing from one scene to another with an action as simple as lowering a chandelier or wheeling a bed into centre stage. The main set consists of ceiling to floor speakers which is particularly apt on the fairly frequent occasions that the volume is turned up to eleven and maybe even beyond! A catwalk style thrust stage provides a dimension I haven’t seen here before, making the performers feel almost within touching distance.
“The Kinks” are exciting to listen to but there’s no boy-band gloss here – no manufactured look or whitened teeth. The four manage to convey the bickering, sibling rivalries and disagreements which could be those of any bunch of ordinary lads in a band, whilst reproducing outstanding music. Who are these young men whose performances convince us they’re a real band?
Ryan O’Donnell (Ray Davies) most recently appeared in “Sunny Afternoon” at the Harold Pinter Theatre. His other theatre credits include: “Quadrophenia”, “Frankenstein”, “Romeo & Juliet”. Ryan was a member of the band Jethro Tull for four years. In 2009 he recorded ‘Matthew and Son’ with Cat ‘Yusuf’ Stevens.
Mark Newnham (Dave Davies) has various theatre credits including: “Return to the Forbidden Planet”, “Lennon” and “Bouncers”
Garmon Rhys (Pete Quaife) most recently appeared in “Doctor Faustus”. Other theatre credits include: “The Secret Adversary” at the Watermill and “Regeneration”.
Andrew Gallo (Mick Avory) has appeared in musicals such as “Sister Act”, “Saturday Night Fever”, “Hairspray”.
The rest of the cast is equally as strong. They play multiple roles, singing and picking up instruments at the drop of a hat. I particularly enjoy the scene early on when the Davies brothers are swamped with interruptions from numerous well meaning older sisters while trying to practice in their bedroom!
I was advised that the show would be unsuitable for my children’s ages so I didn’t take them with me. And yes, there’s some class A swearing such as w*nk, c*ck and worse, along with scenes of drunken debauchery which might make your Granny blush. I’d suggest an age guide of 14+ plus but if I had the chance again I might take my barely thirteen year old along as:-
a) He’s probably heard the offending words at school or on the internet already
b) It’d be a shame to miss out as the show is so good.
Have you ever had that experience when you forget you’re at the theatre and think you’re at a gig for a moment? That’s how I feel when I’m standing up, dancing and high clapping to Lola towards the end. The catwalk is a welcome addition to the stage, drawing intimate scenes even closer and offering scope for yet more movement just in case you’re not exhausted enough watching this absurdly energetic cast in action!
Sunny Afternoon features a talented group of musicians and actors. It’s energetic, beautifully choreographed, (both in terms of dancing and acting) and packed with songs which are almost bound to be familiar if you’re of a certain age. If you’re already a Kinks fan that’s a big bonus. If you’re not, you might be in danger of becoming one by the time you go home!
The sound is perfectly balanced, which must be no mean feat considering the wide range of levels. We feel the loudest chords vibrating our seats and yet can easily hear the dialogue in even the softest of utterances.
I can’t recommend Sunny Afternoon highly enough and the rest of my party agrees. My sister says it’s the best performance she’s ever seen at the Hippodrome and my friend tells me how jealous her husband is going to be when she tells him how good it is.
If you’re into the music of The Kinks and get the chance to go and see this show, grab it with both hands.
Click here for more information or to book tickets to Sunny Afternoon or other shows at The Bristol Hippodrome.
SUNNY AFTERNOON CAST & CREDITS
SUNNY AFTERNOON has music and lyrics by Ray Davies with a book by Joe Penhall and original story by Ray Davies. It is directed by Edward Hall, designed by Miriam Buether with choreography by Adam Cooper. Lighting design is by Rick Fisher with sound design by Matt McKenzie for Autograph. Musical and vocal adaptations are by Ray Davies and Elliott Ware based on original Kinks recordings. The Musical Director is Barney Ashworth and the Musical Supervisor is Elliott Ware.
SUNNY AFTERNOON PERFORMANCES
TUESDAY 7 MARCH – SATURDAY 11 MARCH 2017
BRISTOL HIPPODROME, BRISTOL
TUESDAY 21 MARCH – SATURDAY 25 MARCH 2017
BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE, DUBLIN
TUESDAY 28 MARCH – SATURDAY 1 APRIL
NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE
TUESDAY 4 APRIL – SATURDAY 8 APRIL 2017
MARLOWE THEATRE, CANTERBURY
TUESDAY 11 APRIL – SATURDAY 15 APRIL 2017
THEATRE ROYAL NORWICH
TUESDAY 18 APRIL – SATURDAY 22 APRIL 2017
GRAND THEATRE, WOLVERHAMPTON
TUESDAY 2 MAY – SATURDAY 6 MAY 2017
GRAND OPERA HOUSE, BELFAST
TUESDAY 9 MAY – SATURDAY 13 MAY 2017
THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH
Click here for a complete diary listing of shows at the Bristol Hippodrome