Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks: Sunderland Empire Theatre
THE long hot summer of 1966 was full of sunny afternoons, World Cup-winning euphoria and an endless cavalcade of pop music. London’s dedicated follower of fashion Ray Davies had already found success with his own brand of restless irony and along with his brother, Dave, Peter Quaife and drummer Mick Avory, the Kinks had a string of hits.
Everyone longed to be a pop icon then, as now, but here was a song warning how it could end, sung by a superstar lounging in his stately home having lost all his money to the taxman. "The tax man’s taken all my dough. Save me, save, from this squeeze," he sings, sipping at his ice cold beer, lazing on a sunny afternoon.
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It’s no wonder this musical is multi-award winning, it’s chuffing awesome. Ryan O’Donnell as Ray is amazing, his voice has a haunting quality that’s vulnerable yet tinged with danger. Mark Newnham as Dave "the rave", the Don Juan with a plectrum, has energy and talent to spare. Featuring some of The Kink’s best-loved songs, including You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset (my favourite), Lola and a mesmerising a capella version of Dead End Street, Sunny Afternoon tells the real story of four young lads from Muswell Hill. Adapted by Joe Penhall, with music and lyrics by Ray Davies and beautifully directed by Edward Hall, all day and all of the night it's worth a ticket.
* Runs until Sat, Oct 8. Box Office: 0844-871-3022 or ATGtickets.com/Sunderland