Sunny Afternoon


Off-West End

Harold Pinter Theatre

Sat Oct 4
- Sat Jan 31 2015

  • © Dominic Clemence

    Ned Derrington (Pete), John Dagleish (Ray), Lillie Flynn (Rasa) and George Maguire (Dave)

  • © Dominic Clemence

    George Maguire (Dave) and John Dagleish (Ray)

  • © Dominic Clemence

    Philip Bird (company), Ned Derrington (Pete), Adam Sopp (Mick), John Dagleish (Ray), Vince Leigh (Larry Page) and George Maguire (Dave)

  • © Dominic Clemence

    Lillie Flynn (Sister), Emily Goodenough (Sister), Amy Ross (Sister) and Carly Anderson (Sister)

  • © Dominic Clemence

    John Dagleish (Ray), George Maguire (Dave) and Amy Ross (Sister)

  • © Dominic Clemence

    George Maguire (Dave), John Dagleish (Ray), Ned Derrington (Pete) and Adam Sopp (Mick)

  • © Dominic Clemence

    Dominic Tighe (Robert Wace), Tam Williams (Grenville Collins), George Maguire (Dave), John Dagleish (Ray), Ned Derrington (Pete) and Adam Sopp (Mick)

© Dominic Clemence

Ned Derrington (Pete), John Dagleish (Ray), Lillie Flynn (Rasa) and George Maguire (Dave)

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

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Venue details

  • Categories :

    Theatre. Musicals. Off-West End

Sunny Afternoon 2014 - 2015

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
2 people listening
John G

I'll preface my review by saying that I am a Dave Davies rather than a Ray Davies fan, so this necessarily colours what I felt when I saw the play.

If you like your version of the Kinks' story clichéd, cartoonish and told through the eyes of one man (Ray), with an 'overcoming the odds' happy ending at Madison Square Garden under the stewardship of Allan Klein, then this is for you. Unfortunately, it means that we get the poor, tortured Ray version that we've read about before, with him being let down by grasping management, the US Teamsters, and his fellow bandmates, and having to cope with enormous personal and professional pressure. He is the only three-dimensional character in the play, with Pete Quaife coming across as a terrified wimp (although he is given credit for the bass intro to 'Sunny Afternoon'), and Dave Davies coming across as an out-of-control, cross-dressing party animal (which may have been true in the 60's!). I could also have done without the decorative 60's dolly birds prancing round the auditorium (another cliché).

However, what is undeniable is the power of the songs and the music, and, when the four Kinks are playing together, and playing loud, they sound very convincing. The ability of the supporting cast to pick up instruments at the drop of a hat and support them is also very impressive. This lifts it above most of the other 'jukebox musicals' that have appeared over the last few years.

I do, nevertheless, remain mystified as to the omission of 'Death of a Clown' from the play, which Ray co-wrote with Dave after all. We know that he never liked Dave playing it onstage, but it would have been the perfect song to slot in when Dave was saying that he was tired of being 'Dave the Rave'. I would also have like to have seen how 'The Village Green Preservation Society'  and 'Arthur' came about - and I think that going out with 'Arthur' would have been preferable to 'Lola' at Madison Square Garden, as the Kinks were essentially about Englishness, not becoming a triumphant international rock act (although I know they managed that eventually).

Chris Gore

I don't usually do musicals and nor do the Hamsptead Theatre.  But this was an exception which certainly rates as Five Star entertainment.  This is due not only to Ray Davies' well known and loved music but also to the band and company who are excellent throughout marvelously energetic and clearly enjoying themselves.  Even the Hampstead matinee regulars get up and dance.  Hindsight provides us with enough witty lines and the songs are well worked in, teasingly developed and sometimes tender.  The theatre may be small which makes the staging difficult but the audience gain from this due to the proximity to the action even at the back of the stalls.  The production makes good use of the space with the cast often making their entrances through the stalls and even seen in the circle in the 70s encore.  This must transfer as it deserves to run and run after selling out at the Hampstead.  

The show is absolutely for lack of the better over used word " Brilliant ". The cast captures not only the essence of the 60's and KinKs big part in that era and beyond too. Ray Davies songs and The Kinks as a band were and still are far more important than many people give them credit for and their music will be studied & played long in to the future when many others will be pushed to the side. He wrote and they performed music with much further depth & character than beyond the perfect 3 minute pop song which they were also masters of as well. This is the kind of musical that will have a West End or Broadway audience of not only those who lived through this era but those who missed it or were too young to have been around for it up on their feet, singing and dancing and leaving the theatre with a smile & an emotional tie to the band and their music they may not have ever knew they had. This is great musical theatre, and is London and the UK's answer to Jersey Boys only better and that already is on West End & Broadway. Need I say more? If there is any justice this musical too will see the lights and bigger stage in the future -  God save Ray Davies, God save the KinKs, God save the Village Green.

robert d

Sit back and slip back to the 60's and enjoy a fast-paced and bumpy ride through agents, publishers, family and punch ups to get a feel on Ray Davies' selfie snapshot of the Kinks rise and stumble. The songs say some of it but the cast are energetically convincing and committed and who cares how much it reflects what really happened. If you were there at the time you'll love it and if you weren't then just enjoy tune after tune until Lola gets you on your feet at the end. Great musical theatre - who needs more ?