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Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre) - Review

Review by Shanna Schreuder

THE Kinks’ rich back catalogue of songs aren’t just belted out but are inventively used to tell the story of the band’s first two tumultuous years as they ascended to stardom, at home and across the pond, in Sunny Afternoon.

Winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor after it first opened in the West End, this hugely successful show has got an all-new cast and continues to be a hit with audiences.

As July 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of The Kinks reaching the number one spot with their single Sunny Afternoon, it seems like the perfect time to re-examine its winning attributes.

To start with, Joe Penhall’s book based on Ray Davies’s original story doesn’t shy away from depicting the inner demons of the band members as they struggle to remain united. Cash, creativity and class are the three main themes that run throughout this story as the four working-class lads from north London shake up the music scene with their raw new sound while they struggle to discover what they really want on an individual level.

The set continues to delight as it works to create a level of intimacy, thanks to the central runway and nightclub-style seating arrangement at the front of the stage.

Danny Horn ticks all the right boxes as the highly creative yet deeply troubled lead Ray Davies, while Oliver Hoare portrays cheeky chappy Dave Davies with the right mix of wild recklessness and youthful innocence.

Damien Walsh nails Mick Avory’s feisty attitude and musical ambition, and finally Tom Whitelock as Peter Quaife combines overly expressive looks with a quiet, understated demeanour to make his personal turmoil all the more moving.

Sunny Afternoon makes for a highly recommended night at the theatre – and it works whether you’re a fan of The Kinks or not.

Sunny Afternoon has extended its run at The Harold Pinter Theatre until October 29, 2016, taking it to its second anniversary.