“What a buzz!”

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It’s all been building up to this: my 100th Sunny Afternoon. My 100th Sunny Afternoon. Sorry, I have to keep saying it, as it still doesn’t seem real!

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And how did I prepare for this big day? With two hours of sleep… I genuinely felt too excited! More excited than a kid on Christmas Eve.

With it being a day of celebration, things had to start early: a G&T followed by an ice cream at lunch. Perfect for summer finally kicking in! The preparations continued later on, with a trip to the Moonlight Bar for a ‘bubbly cocktail’ (a Bucks Fizz with a bit extra) with Jess – we do so love it there.

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The first of many surprises greeted me when I got down to my table: Sandie! You may not believe me, but over the past couple of days I’d had this odd feeling that there was some kind of plotting going on… But it was more out of hope than expectation. With us three at the table and Helen over the other side of the stalls, it had turned into a bit more of an Afternooners gathering that I had expected! I even got some lovely presents & cards, which are now adorning my already Sunny desk:

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Then it was finally time for the show to start! And from the off it seemed like it was going to be another warm one… From my vantage point at the front I could see everything that I loved – not that there’s anything I dislike, but you know what I mean! And it really felt like a ‘greatest hits’ for me, with the stars chucking in every little nuance I’ve ever told them that I enjoy. Tam continued Janet’s evolution (for some context, check number 64) and feathers started getting stuck as the heat began to rise during a particularly entertaining ‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion’. Getting sprayed with the ‘bubbly’ by George at the start of ‘Till The End Of The Day’ was a welcome relief! Luckily the audience seemed a bit more up for it than during my past few shows; a tad over-eager to start with, but that’s always better than deathly silence (heat or no heat).

I’m in constant admiration at the cast for managing to carry on with such enthusiasm despite the soaring temperatures – especially the boys in their woollen suits. How they’re able to stick it out and give it their all in the final scene is beyond me… Angry drumming, playing bass whilst peacekeeping and a percussion-related altercation whilst sweltering. All as entertaining as ever! By the time we reached “Just keep going!” I was exhausted with laughter. And ready for the prosecco Sandie had generously ordered for the interval!

But we all know what I was most looking forward to. A certain drum solo… Everyone (and I mean everyone) knows that it’s my favourite part of the show; I did try not to put too much pressure on Adam, as excited as I was for it. And if he was feeling any pressure it certainly didn’t show! It has become my new favourite. Again, very much a ‘greatest hits’ – completely epic, combining all the elements I adore, and all pulled off brilliantly. Truly compelling. I could hardly contain my excitement!

“Dave’s gone to the dark side…”

Well. Now I’ve had a bit of a moment… The second act was just as thrilling as the first. I did start to feel a bit overwhelmed by the occasion, which probably contributed a tear or two during the really emotional parts – but I was really properly engaged with every single moment, partly thanks to everyone being on top of their game. I do want to give a special mention to Ryan here, on as Ray for a few days; he’s really developed his portrayal and grown in confidence, with a look of real enjoyment on his face.

Also deserving of a mention is the lovely Lillie. She is the only cast member to have appeared in all 100 of my shows! Closely followed by Ned on a sterling 99. Considering the total amount of shows that have been performed, this is seriously incredible! The dedication & love shown by all involved is yet another thing that keeps me loyal to the show.

And I just had to give a standing ovation at the end of ‘Waterloo Sunset’. Right at the front, I had to show them my appreciation for somehow making my 100th show as special as my first! Before another rousing curtain call, with a real sense of celebration & fun. And being wished a happy 100th by both Lillie & Adam from the stage just topped off the whole show…

Though my experience didn’t end there! Almost before I had time to down the last of the prosecco, I was being whisked up onto the stage (and please note that I still haven’t given away the locations of the doors that lead backstage!). It was so wonderful to walk onstage to cheering from the entire cast, and being presented with a beautiful framed poster – complete with a little personalised message at the bottom:

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There was just time for a quick pic (I will share it just as soon as I have it!) and a few sweaty half hugs, before heading out to my usual post-show location…

What I found remarkable was the amount of ‘well dones’ I received. Honestly, it’s no hardship to see something I love so much that many times! “The pleasure is mine.” It’s that group of talented souls that should be getting all the congratulations, every single time. And not just the ones who end up onstage. If the whole company could’ve been up there I’d have been chuffed – I love them all to bits.

There was one last surprise, before heading over to the pub… An extra special and very thoughtful present from Adam: the very drumsticks he used in that beast of a drum solo! That really touched me – something I’ll treasure forever.

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So. That was #Sunny100. I’m still processing it all, to be quite frank. Yet more amazing memories to keep me going! It only remains for me to give thanks to the cast, my fellow Afternooners & the Sunny team for giving me such a memorable night.

“Days I’ll remember all my life…”

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