I have never seen a stage show about a band despite there being many available. However, having seen Sunny Afternoon, I have no doubt that it ranks as one of the best. Despite The Kinks perhaps not being as well known as The Beatles, The Four Seasons or Queen who all have musical stage shows about them, you will recognise many of the classic hits and it will remind you that this band was just as talented, popular and credible as their musically gifted counterparts.
Then the show itself demonstrates how The Kinks legacy lives on, done justice by a tremendously talented cast. The whole show appears more as a rock concert than a theatrical narrative as every hit by the band is performed fantastically, from smooth ballads to smashing and “violent” hits. Ray Davies performed by Ryan O’Donnell is the ideal frontman playing off his cool and suave sophistication in total contrast to his brother Dave (Mark Newnham) whose eccentricity adds an amazing energy to the performance. I also loved the quiet brilliance of the bass guitarist Pete (Garmon Rhys) and especially Andrew Gallo’s performance as the drummer Mick who even in scenes where they were not involved effectively became part of the on stage orchestra which wowed throughout.
Every scene included one or more songs that fed into the narrative of the life story of The Kinks, and you could really see how each song may have been created by the influences going on in the bands lives at the time. Each scene took you on an individual journey, culminating in the fantastic build up and layering of Waterloo Sunset to convey the feeling and emotion of harmony within the group. In contrast to this however, there is one warning to give though. This show is LOUD! If you like your music raw and turned up to 11, then you won’t be disappointed as popular tracks like “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night” are played at max volume and the walkway reaching out into the Hippodrome audience really gets the band closer to you to turn up intensity even more.
The overall show gives an unbelievable feeling of nostalgia even for those not old enough to remember those times but may have lived them through old films, movies or music. The spirit of the summer of ’66 during England’s World Cup win is captured perfectly in the song Sunny Afternoon, and the stage show itself gives you that reassuring feeling that reminiscing brings with it.