Sunny Afternoon: ★★★★ from the Evening Standard

Posted on 2 May 2014.

Posted in: Theatre Reviews

Sunny Afternoon: ★★★★ from the Evening Standard

‘An irresistible new musical which illustrates the brilliance of The Kinks’
By Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

Fans of The Kinks will find this new musical irresistible. And anyone who doesn’t know their work will be bowled over by the sheer quality of the songs — among them All Day and All of the Night, You Really Got Me and Waterloo Sunset.

It’s essentially a jukebox show, intended to celebrate the off-kilter humour and wry pathos of the band’s greatest hits. We hear their famous distorted guitar riffs and propulsive percussion, as well as frontman Ray Davies’s particular brand of satire and highly literate nostalgia.

The songs are woven into a deceptively simple script by Joe Penhall, who chronicles The Kinks’ emergence, rise to fame, awkward attempt to break into America and contractual arguments.

There are the inevitable rifts, marital tiffs and money troubles — handled with a deliberate roughness, because this is a musical that puts heart and soul above the polished slickness we now tend to associate with celebrity.

The chemistry between the band’s four members is convincing — never more so than when they’re working to develop a new song. John Dagleish is immense as Davies, capturing his quirkiness and charisma. His guitarist brother Dave is given an exciting wildness by George Maguire.

Ned Derrington and Adam Sopp complete the quartet, and in all their dealings we feel the conflict between artistic integrity and commercial savvy. Director Edward Hall ensures that Hampstead Theatre’s first musical is suffused with energy and wit, while Miriam Buether’s design makes a stunning impact and allows the action to spill into the audience.

And if at the end we’re pretty much coerced into a dancing ovation, some of the show’s best moments are in fact its more melancholy and reflective ones. Sunny Afternoon illustrates the brilliance of The Kinks and the incisive songwriting of Davies, and it’s surely destined for the West End.

Click here to visit the Evening Standard online

Back to top
Most viewed
Latest from Twitter:
  • Hampstead Theatre @Hamps_Theatre

    🚨 Calling all Lighting Extraordinaires 🚨 We're looking for an exceptional individual to deliver all lighting, sou… https://t.co/5uJ9znX0Sv

    4 days ago
  • Hampstead Theatre @Hamps_Theatre

    In light of the recently announced lockdown, we regretfully confirm that rest of the programmed run of The Dumb Wai… https://t.co/GKxHkOXkZC

    15 days ago
  • Hampstead Theatre @Hamps_Theatre

    Thank you for all your support and encouragement this year. We can’t wait to see you in 2021 - until then, take car… https://t.co/fJrQPyG8hL

    1 months ago

KEEPING YOU SAFE AT HAMPSTEAD

1 Social Distanced 2

SOCIAL DISTANCING

2 Reduced Audience Capacity 1

REDUCED AUDIENCE CAPACITY

3 MASKS REQUIRED 1

FACE MASKS REQUIRED

4 TEMPERATURE CHECKS2

TEMPERATURE CHECKS

5 STATE OF THE ART VENTILATION2

START OF THE ART VENTILATION

6 ENHANCED CLEANING2

ENHANCED CLEANING

7 CONTACTLESS TICKETS2

CONTACTLESS TICKETS

8 HAND SANITIZING STATIONS 1

HAND SANITIZING STATIONS

9 CASHLESS PAYMENT3

CASHLESS PAYMENT