Day 2: Oh so fine

Ned Derrington, George Maguire, Adam Sopp, Tam Williams and Dominic Tighe in Sunny Afternoon. Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
Ned Derrington, George Maguire, Adam Sopp, Tam Williams and Dominic Tighe in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins.

So I got through the first day! Very tired for the whole of Monday. I think it was the first time I’d almost fallen asleep during some of the quieter sections of the second half… But I didn’t! The beauty of Sunny is that it is pretty well punctuated with songs, even if you don’t really notice it at the time. It seems that an extra dimension has been added in that I’m now expected to go to the pub after the show each night this week too… Not managed that in previous challenge weeks, so we’ll see how that pans out!

On this day in Kinks history…

So legend has it, Robert Wace & Grenville Collins first encountered Ray, Dave & Pete at the Athenaeum Ballroom in Muswell Hill in 1963. The two parties basically auditioned each other the same day and, well, you know the rest!

Thanks to the Kinks Oracle (Ksenia) for this content.

Day in the life of a super fan

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My weekdays usually start at 6.30am with the incessant beeping of my alarm clock – and this week is no different! Thanks to my hugely busy past few weeks I’m already knackered, so took full advantage of not needing to rush about to get ready this morning. All soundtracked by the original cast recording! Until this week I’ve not had the show’s soundtrack playing in the morning for quite some time; now it’s starting to get cold again it’s been reminding me of the early days of going to see the show. A kind of feeling of déjà vu, I guess. It’s somehow nice, odd & sad at the same time!

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I do my best to walk the 3.5 miles into work when I can – started because I needed to save money, and found that I actually really enjoyed it! Especially once I found a route that avoids most of the main roads (and therefore people). It’s really nice walking through Regent’s Park in the mornings, despite having to avoid copious amounts of bird mess…

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I’m never far from Sunny, even when I’m at work, as I believe I have the Sunniest desk in the land! I still have my Sunny 100 cards up too… I work at the Wellcome Trust, making online forms for grant applications. It’s your traditional office job, basically. Open plan, computers, 9-5.

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Obviously the most important part of the first half of the day is procuring my ticket for the evening! So that was my lunch break today; a swift 1.5 mile walk into the West End and back (so that’s 6.5 miles in total so far today). The Harold Pinter Theatre box office staff really are the best in the business! They’ve obviously seen us all quite a bit so now know who we are, and are always willing to try & help us get the kind of seats we’d like.

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Then it’s back to the office, to be fuelled by tea until the end of the day! (And maybe the odd custard cream here & there.) I did receive some unexpected, but very welcome news, during the course of the afternoon: Sandie was on the train headed for London! Knowing that she’d be there (as well as Helen) definitely made the afternoon go a lot quicker.

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A brisk walk into the West End took me up to 8 miles for the day… After Sandie had been serenaded by George, we headed up for cocktails in the Moonlight Bar (got to love their happy hour!) – seemed a fitting way to celebrate Sandie’s spontaneous trip over to London! Excitingly we got to hear a couple of songs the band were rehearsing for On Blackheath. It was great to hear the alternative endings they’ve put in! And even bumped into Rupert, who very kindly gave me a copy of his latest Sunny drawing. They really are marvellous! Obviously then it was time for the show…

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I managed the pub again afterwards! Pretty glad I did this time, as we heard about Mr Davies killing a cow, and talk of Narnia… What can I say? It’s a diverse cast! Always lovely to get to spend a bit of extra time with them, especially with time ticking on. We called it a night at around 11.30pm, meaning I got back just as I could hear a bell striking midnight… Just enough time for me to do a bit of reading and then sleeeeeep!

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The Challenge

In the end, it worked out best to quiz the four ‘Kinks’ after the show, so…

I asked Ned if he has any pre-show rituals, or any food or drink he has to have before a show

Quite a few!

  • He can’t be the first one onstage
  • If John’s on the stage before him he has to give him a hug
  • The music & pen have to be straight on the piano stand
  • He always goes into John & George’s dressing room and has half a Jakemans
  • At Hampstead, Adam always had to slap his arse before a show, otherwise Ned thought it would go terribly that night!

I asked Adam whether he plans the exact drum solo he’s going to do during the show

He runs through a solo before the show, but it’s not necessarily the one he’s going to do during the show.

He makes his final decision about the hemiola (a kind of rhythmic pattern) he’s going to use during the scene following the limo and Maximum Consumption, then expands around it to create the full solo – generally inverting bits of it & building up from there.

(I wish I’d been filming his response, as he demonstrated this quite brilliantly!)

I asked John & George what they’d miss most about the show when they leave

John: You!

George: Not John!

John: The length of the girls’ skirts.

Both decided that they’d miss the music. John will really miss basically playing a gig with his mates every night – George said that the music is the one thing that he can never get bored of.

The show

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Another new seat for me! Testing out the other side of the still quite new row F. As much as I love being right up near the front, it’s lovely to be able to sit back & get a broader perspective on the whole show (especially along the gangway) – plus as I’m going every night this week, it would be too repetitive (for me) to sit in the same seat/area every time. I mean, if B15 had happened to be available each night I wouldn’t have said no, but I’m happy as it is!

It really was a cracking show! Everyone just seemed to be having the best time, right from the off. And I think that gave the audience a bit of a lift early on, as everyone seemed a bit more responsive than last night’s lot… I managed to give the girliest shriek when George absolutely soaked the three of us in bubbly too!

I really was buzzing when I left the theatre; that was a show to remember.

#drumsolo view rating: 4.5 – pretty much perfect, just always nice to be as close as possible to experience it. That’s my only criticism of the seat! And somehow it managed to be very different from last night’s. Incredible.

Elizabeth Hill and John Dagleish in Sunny Afternoon. Photograph by Kevin Cummins.
Elizabeth Hill and John Dagleish in Sunny Afternoon.
Photograph by Kevin Cummins.

Today’s Star of the Day is Liz Hill.

Liz’s two main roles in the show are the very different Mrs Davies and Marsha. It’s really difficult to decide which character I prefer! She plays the Davies matriarch with pride & sensitivity, more often than not reducing me to tears when she talks of her son’s “mission” – though, in keeping with the times, she doesn’t really understand his inner torment. Marsha is confident & direct, played with real humour and as part of a brilliant double act with Philip Bird. What I love most is how in tune Marsha is with Klein, mimicking his gestures to really hammer his points home – and basically make me giggle non-stop throughout that scene!

I don’t know what’s next for the lovely Liz, but I look forward to finding out. And we can be sure that she will give her all to whatever part she plays.

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