Sunny Afternoon is unmissably brilliant - Southampton and Brighton

REVIEW: Sunny Afternoon, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until Saturday, December 10.

Sunny Afternoon
Sunny Afternoon

A dark December night becomes a gloriously Sunny Afternoon this week as the fabulous new Kinks musical hits Southampton.

And if you can’t get to the Mayflower this week, make sure you get to Brighton Theatre Royal between December 13-31 for the show of the year. Who needs panto? Aim higher. Much higher.

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Sunny Afternoon is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The complete package.

What more could you possibly want? A fascinating story is superbly told by a fresh and supremely-talented cast who deliver it all with style, energy, wit and plenty of pathos. But best of all, the whole thing is built around some of the greatest songs ever written.

It’s become a bit of a cliché to talk of The Kinks as being a bit underrated and rather overlooked. This new musical shows that it’s above all an outrage.

Whether you are sitting there mouthing the words or constantly thinking ‘Oh! I didn’t know this song was by The Kinks!’ you’ll be transported back to an another era, one rich in hope and possibilities and one in which the warring Davies brothers – Ray and Dave – rose to the top because of and despite themselves.

The Kinks wouldn’t have been the band they were without the constant aggro between Dave the Rave and the more introspective, infinitely more sensitive Ray – and it’s this that

Mark Newnham as Dave and Ryan O'Donnell as Ray capture so well.

They show us a band which was shamelessly exploited by its managers and also a band which was effectively unmanageable. Just who was to blame for what doesn’t particularly matter. It’s all about the impact – and that’s what we get across a fantastic couple of hours.

It’s beautifully acted and choreographed; the songs are delivered to perfection; and O'Donnell gives us an enthralling look into the creative processes of one of our most important song-writers. The way the songs flow from the situations is superbly done. The way Waterloo Sunset emerges before our eyes gives us the night’s biggest tingle.

Right now I am struggling to think of anything I have enjoyed more on any stage anywhere this year.

Phil Hewitt

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