Sunny Afternoon is a five star hit show!
The cast of Sunny Afternoon
Photograph by Kevin Cummins
LIVERPOOL EMPIRE THEATRE
TUESDAY 7TH FEBRUARY 2017
From ‘All Day and All of the Night’ to ‘Days’, The Kinks’ are one of the world’s most influential and iconic bands. Now you can celebrate their timeless music in the incredible musical Sunny Afternoon.
Over two hours, the audience are transported into the 1960’s and into the world of The Kinks. It’s colourful, it’s entrancing and it’s one of the greatest musical shows you will ever see.
There’s an honesty to Sunny Afternoon, much like The Kink’s music. It doesn’t just simply cover The Kinks’ rise through the charts; it deals with life on the road, the business of music and the process of creativity. The script is well crafted and encapsulates events in the life of the band. If you’re a fan of The Kinks you’ll love it; if you weren’t before, you will be at the end.
The story naturally progresses through each series of events, with the stories retold in both heartfelt and sometimes humorous ways. There’s a beautiful charm to the songwriting scene in act one, where Ray and Dave Davies create the sound of ‘You really got me’. Ryan O’ Donnell (Ray) and Mark Newnham (Dave) capture the joy of creating sound; their reactions to the chords leaving the audience chuckling, but then cheering as those iconic riffs blurred from the amps.
The entire cast are excellent musicians, with the quartet of Ryan O’ Donnell (Ray), Mark Newnham (Dave), Andrew Gallo (Mick) and Garmon Rhys (Pete) being equal in skill to The Kinks themselves. They sound incredible; their chemistry onstage perfectly capturing the different dynamics and emotions the band members experienced at different stages of their career. Mark Newnham is an exemplar guitarist, while Ryan O’ Donnell’s voice soared from the stage and took my breath away. It was stunning.
Joining the cast was Lisa Wright as Ray’s wife Rasa, whose duet with Ryan O’ Donnell was emotive and beautiful. Stand out moments also included ‘Dedicated follower of Fashion’ in Act one, with the ensemble providing excellent melodies and outstanding choreography. It was the acapella rendition of ‘Days’ in Act Two however that brought tears to my eyes; a poignant and touching performance, which can only be described in one word: magnificent.
From ‘Waterloo Sunset’ to a rendition of ‘Lola’, which had the entire audience on their feet in a standing ovation (and rightly so), Sunny Afternoon revisited a catalogue of timeless songs that sound as wonderful today as they did when they were first released. Complimenting the songs and story is an amazing backdrop of amplifiers onstage; the scenes seamlessly transitioning through the stages of The Kinks’ career.
From start to finish, Sunny Afternoon is one of the greatest music shows of the 21st century. If I could give it more than five stars I would - exciting, incredible, one of a kind.
By Sarah O' Hara
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