Tuesday, 24 January 2017

“Sunny Afternoon”
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Based on the formation and career of The Kinks, this is their tale of their rise from the dead end streets to rock stardom. It’s set against the background of political and social change of the 1960s and examines the early years of the Muswell Hill based group. After initial failure, the band's lead guitarist Dave Davies experimented and created a distorted power chord sound on the group's third single, "You Really Got Me". The song, written by Dave's older brother Ray, went to No 1 in the charts and preceded a string of hits.
Woven into this 2015 award winning new musical are the themes of the Davies brothers' sibling rivalry, management problems, their sister's untimely death, Ray's doomed marriage and their subsequent banning from the United States following a dispute with the musicians' union.
All the biggest and best hits are here, “You really Got Me”, “Days”, “Dead End Street”, ”Dedicated Follower Of Fashion”, “Stop Your Sobbing”, “All Day And All Of The Night”, “Tired Of Waiting”, "I Go To Sleep", “Waterloo Sunset”, “Lola”, "Sunny Afternoon" and so many more.
This show combines the adrenalin rush of being at a live concert with the whole theatricality of a stage show and the whole rebellious spirit of the 1960s. Bringing the primal sound of rock ‘n’ roll to the “lardies” (lah di dah-upper class people) can be an uphill struggle and not without physical oppositions.
It’s always nice to see those on stage actually playing their instruments, bringing an air of realism to the roles of the fine musicians that are the Davies brothers and the band, with only a couple of drafted in musicians to fully flesh out the sound.
The arrangements of Davies' songs when stripped back show what beautiful words and melodies he produced. Ir also highlighted the really good voices the actors had.
Mark Newnham gave a wonderful, if not slightly twisted performance as Dave Davies, but that guitar playing was just amazing. he sung more than one axe in this show (that's musician talk by the way-go see the show to find out what I mean). A bordering alcoholic womaniser who constantly argued and fought with his sibling, as well as anyone else who he took a passing dislike to. A lovely touching moment of truth though at the end.
Ryan O Donnell played Ray Davies. Thoughtful portrayal of a thoughtful man with talent in abundance, still has, and a legend in the world of music. Ryan even looked like the young Ray Davies although didn't sound like Ray, but this wasn't a tribute show, this was a tribute to great music and a great story.
The Kinks drummer, Mick Avory was played by Andrew Gallo and boy could he beat them skins. A formidable drum solo in Act Two highlighting his drumming skills. This Mick certainly gave it some stick!
Completing the line up was bassist Pete Quaife played by Garmon Rhys. Another fantastic musician.
One part of The kinks story I wasn't aware of was Ray's wife, Rasa and their baby which came to be very early in the Kinks' career and the issue that this would cause Ray during the Kinks U.S. tour. Rasa was played by Lisa Wright, who is a recording artist in her own right.
Brilliant costumes and wigs, especially for Dave Davies,an amazing light show and powerful sound. I did hear someone behind me dare to say that it was too loud. This is the music of The Kinks, one of the most influential bands of the 1960's. Too loud? Oh no, not for me, I loved the whole concert feel to the show.
Loved the choreography (Adam Cooper) and those fashions and girls are so sexy.
Great entertainment as well as educational, an amazing back catalogue of songs, a fantastic history lesson and a crazy, mixed up, shook up world of sixties pop culture. These songs will have you singing for days after the event as you walk off into your own Waterloo sunset.
“Sunny Afternoon” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 28 January 2017.

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