So Jessica, who runs the Sunny Afternoon Twitter fan page (and who I’ve only known properly for a few weeks), challenged me to go to every evening show of Sunny Afternoon in a week. Other than the hit to my bank balance, this didn’t appear to be a problem to me! And as I’d already made a couple of bookings by that point it seemed a shame to stop there…
I did warn a few of the cast members on my first night – they very kindly called it “commitment”!
Day 1 – Monday 2 February 2015
A special day: the reunion of the original West End cast following John Dagleish‘s break! So, naturally, I was feeling even more excitable (& actually very emotional) in the lead-up to the evening – and that was completely vindicated. I had been treated to a premium seat, so a new view for me (I could see the whole of the stage AND the catwalk without having to turn my head). Totally worth it! Perfect view of a flawless drum solo – though I’m not sure the people in front were best pleased with my rather loud woop at the end of it…
It was also made a brilliant night by the fact that a few of our lovely community were in. As great as it is being able to just go and see the show, it’s even better to share it with some really nice people.
Song of the night: A Long Way From Home
I get teary during this song anyway, but it was a case of proper full-on sobbing this time…
Day 2 – Tuesday 3 February 2015
Somehow, another special day: this time a bigger group of Dedicated Followers were united to enjoy the best show on the West End! It all started beautifully with cocktails (thank you, Sandie!) and then took an even more celebratory turn with a bottle of prosecco at our table. Now, I don’t drink a lot, so I was already feeling tipsy after the cocktail – imagine how I felt after guzzling three-quarters of the prosecco in under 3 hours…
It was just the most wonderful night. Every member of cast was on top form (another perfect drum solo for me – woohoo!), and the atmosphere in the Harold Pinter was simply electric.
Yes, the alcohol did affect me (so much so that when Adam asked me how I was after, I simply replied: “I’m drunk.” – not at all cringing thinking back to that!), but it was a brilliantly entertaining and emotional night once more.
Song of the night: Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
My favourite song of the show anyway, but it was particularly entertaining this time!
Day 3 – Wednesday 4 February 2015
A long day… Thankfully, though, the previous night’s drinking didn’t leave me with a hangover – I was just very tired! So, two coffees and three teas later, I was ready for the third night of my challenge…
There was a bit of variation, as Stephen Pallister was covering for Vinny Leigh as Larry Page, and Nick Sayce was on for Adam Sopp as Mick Avory (following a long-feared accident from all the running around!). So I got to hear a very different, cymbal-heavy drum solo this time!
Once more down in the stalls, but in a different row for once (D15, if you’re interested).
You’re probably tired of me saying this, but the show really does get better every time. Even got to see Dave clambering around the set in Dead End Street for the first time in a while! Oh, and Noel Fielding was also in the audience – so it’s all good…
Song of the night: Waterloo Sunset
Almost uncontrollable sobbing, but with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
Day 4 – Thursday 5 February 2015
John Dagleish’s birthday today! Happy birthday again, John! 24, was it..? 😉
To start with, thank you Jessica for the pre-show coffee – with that and a couple of Sudafed I was good to go by 7.30pm! (I did not help myself by having wine at lunch…) I tell you, working 9-5 and then going to a show every night is a real test of stamina… Especially as I realised that I had actually been out late every night since the previous Thursday. I do like to make things difficult for myself!
So, the show. (That’s what I’m supposed to be talking about, after all.) Adam was back, so we had the original “Mick Avory and The Kinks” united again; the audience may have started a bit quietly, but things definitely warmed up by the end.
I spoke to a lovely couple (of The Kinks’ generation) in the interval – I think I freaked them out a bit that it was my 37th time at the show, but they were very happy that someone of my age appreciated their favourite music. It’s pretty much all down to my dad’s fantastic taste that I grew up with this stuff! Oh, and the husband loved the drum solo almost as much as I did…
OK, this is officially over halfway. Let’s keep this challenge going!
Song of the night: Lola
It did feel like a party tonight, and I couldn’t wait to get out of my seat to “have a little bit of a bop”!
Day 5 – Friday 6 February 2015
Well it’s a good thing Thursday night was a good ‘un (both the show and the post-show shenanigans!) – otherwise I’d have probably spent most of the day slumped over my desk asleep…
My first night of the challenge not in the stalls… Saved some money by sitting behind a safety rail in the Royal Circle – actually gives a pretty damn good view overall. And another day, another cast change: Nick Sayce back on, this time playing the very different role of Robert ‘Bobby’ Wace. Now, I’ve said to people that it changes subtly every time I go, and having different actors certainly adds to that effect. I love seeing the different interpretations!
This is probably getting boring, but I had such a great time! I laughed (heartily), I cried (unashamedly) and I most definitely got out of my seat at the end. Even if the boring, noisy, peanut-eating sods sat next to me didn’t bother!
It’s kind of sad that the challenge is nearing the end… As exhausted as I am, it’s been a week to remember! Will definitely have to round it off with a celebratory drink afterwards.
Song(s) of the night: Where Have All The Good Times Gone/All Day And All Of The Night
One track on the album & one scene, so it counts as one ‘song’ in my book! I love all the little details that can be picked out in this bit, but I do tend to end up watching Pete (Ned Derrington) fussing and Mick losing any semblance of composure – it’s just so brilliantly played.
Day 6 – Saturday 7 February 2015
Part 1: matinée
A very, very cheeky addition to my challenge. Last-minute decision, but luckily at a last-minute price! In my favourite seat.
And I got to see the understudy Davies brothers again (Luke Baker as Ray, Robbie Durham as Dave). It was almost like that feeling when you’ve just come back from the school holidays: it feels like everything’s different and new to start with, and that you’ve been away for ages – but very soon it’s like you’ve never been away. I’d spent the best part of a month watching Luke play Ray (plus a few shows with Robbie playing Dave), but seeing them together again after 5 consecutive shows of John and George was really nice. It had a kind of reassuring effect – familiar, yet fresh.
Another reason I love B13 (and the front row in general) is that you can hear lots of little ad libs and extras – my favourite opportunity for this is at the hotel check-in scene. Other audience members probably wonder why I’m creased up with laughter, but I do find Adam, Tam & Ashley‘s interactions really funny – and a great extension of their characters (Mick, in particular).
This is where I’m glad the show is so loud (along with it being completely awesome), as there’s no chance I’d ever fall asleep – despite the catwalk being very inviting to lean on and have a little nap! It did almost reach that point towards the end of the interval, I must admit… But then I heard the plane sound and remembered it was about 10 minutes until the drum solo – then I was awake!
A good matinée crowd and great to return to the stalls for a few hours.
Song of the afternoon: Days
The overwhelming tiredness meant it was more an emotional time, with this beautiful a capella version of the song probably hitting me the most.
Part 2: evening
Thankfully I was given a coffee donation between shows, as I was starting to get very tired (& consequently crabby, particularly when a taxi driver decided red lights meant nothing to him and I whacked his cab…).
But luckily the show (my 40th, no less!) completely exceeded my expectations. Yes, this is still possible! Definitely the most up-for-it crowd I’ve been a part of, which must create a sort of positive feedback loop: the cast are encouraged & up their game, so the audience get more enthusiastic, etc., etc.
The caffeine, adrenaline and endorphins well and truly kicked in, so I had no sleep-related issues – despite the songs that mention sleep, plus some onstage yawning…
I know I’ve already said this before, but I really do need to dedicate a bit of space to the drum solo.
No pressure, Adam! 😉
But it was the best (& possibly the longest – my Cheshire Cat grin did make my face ache!) I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Utterly magnificent! In spite of what looked like a stick snapping towards the end – not a beat missed and a massive round of applause. (I’m still thinking about it now, if I’m honest!)
By the curtain call, it was jubilant in the Harold Pinter Theatre. An absolutely amazing night that I was thrilled to be a part of.
Song of the night: You Really Got Me
The audience was so quick to warm up that this was the rocking-est I’ve heard this song – just fantastic!
So. I’ve done it. Completed my challenge – and then some! I think I’m alright to say that I now have a good idea of the exhaustion the cast must feel on a weekly basis (I’ve done a full week of 9-5s on top of the show and trips to the pub, you know!) – but also the elation & rush that a show as good as this brings.
I’m not bored of it. I’m not bored of the music. I still laugh at the jokes like I’ve never heard them before. I can just about speak, as my vocal cords have taken a bit of a pummelling (combination of drum solo wooping and curtain call singing).
And I’m already sorted to go back next week…
And to finish this epic post (the Ben Hur of the blogosphere!)… Thank you to the cast. I know I tell you a lot, and I particularly have this week, but you are awesome. Completely and utterly. Possibly the most talented and loveliest group of people you’d ever want to meet. I hope you’re not sick of seeing me, because I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of seeing you.
Cheers for making my life so Sunny!